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Lassa Fever: 16 Dead, 61 Hospitalised In Fresh Epidemic

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Regarding the Lassa fever outbreak update issued by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja: “as at January 21, 2018, the total number of confirmed cases is 61, with 16 deaths recorded,” three of which were recorded in Ebonyi state alone and three also in Imo State. It went on: “Ten health care workers have been infected in four states – Ebonyi, seven; Nasarawa, one; Kogi, one and Benue, one.”Since the beginning of 2018, a total number of 107 suspected Lassa fever cases have been recorded in 10 states: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo and Lagos states.

The statement, signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that the three states – Ebonyi, Ondo, and Edo states were worst hit by the acute viral haemorrhagic illness, which is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

While lamenting the cases of Lassa fever recorded in Imo State, the Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed that three persons had died of Lassa fever while seven others were hospitalised.

Okorocha said that the disease was discovered in one of the hospitals in Orlu Local Government Area of the state and expressed deep worry over the disease and the cautioned citizens against unhygienic habits and body contact.

He also said that the identified hospitals had been isolated while the patients had been quarantined for a specific time in order to manage the situation. However, following the increasing number of Lassa fever cases so far recorded in the country, the NCDC had activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response to the outbreak on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).

The EOC has deployed Rapid Response Teams to the most affected states- Ebonyi, Ondo and Edo States. The RRTs were supporting the states in response coordination, contact tracing, case management, risk communication and strengthening infection prevention and control practices.

“Emergency supplies have also been sent to treatment centres in all affected states,” he added.

According to Ihekweazu, NCDC is collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, African Field Epidemiology Network, United States (US) Centres for Disease Control, University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) and other agencies, in supporting the response in the affected states.

Read More: Newtelegraph

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