The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole will today in Abuja inaugurate the National Lassa Fever Action Committee.
According to a press release sent to Nigerian Pilot yesterday, the minister will use the occasion to convene an Emergency National Council on Health to discuss the on-going Lassa fever outbreak in the country.
Also, all state Commissioners of Health, Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors of tertiary health facilities would be present at the event.
The meeting will discuss the seeming uncontrolled spread of the virus which has claimed over 45 lives in about 11 states of the federation.
This is as a 65-year-old lady (name withheld) from Ifite-Ogwari village, Ayamelum Local Government of Anambra State, has been confirmed killed by the dreaded Lassa fever at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Asaba, Delta State.
The State Rapid Response Team said no fewer than 22 persons had already contacted the disease and they were under surveillance while five samples were sent for laboratory investigation.
The public relations officer in the state Ministry of Health, Mr. Churchill Oyowe confirmed the death of the patient who came to Delta from Anambra State for medication, saying she was first admitted at St. Joseph’s Hospital before being referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, when her condition worsened
Mr Oyowe said the case was confirmed at the virology laboratory, Specialist Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, adding however that the two other samples sent to the same laboratory tested negative.
He stated that the state government had already informed the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, on these developments, even as the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is said to be providing the necessary logistics to enhance contact tracing and other control measures.
The patient, who was confirmed Lassa fever positive yesterday by the acting Medical Director of FMC, Dr. Victor Osiatuma said the matter was a federal government case, adding that “we have been banned from speaking on it; only the Minister of Health and the Commissioner of Health in the state can comment on it.”
Dr. Osiatuma revealed that the blood sample of the patient had been sent for further clarification, saying he has communicated same to the Ministry of Health through the phone numbers made available by the ministry.
Lassa fever is caused by a virus found in the urine and faeces of a species of rat when they contaminate food or water or come in contact with broken skin of humans.
Infected persons spread the disease when their body fluids such as blood, faeces, urine, sperm and vomit come in contact with others.
Some signs and symptoms of Lassa fever infection include cold and fever, sore throat, headache, pains in different parts of the body, nausea, cough, diarrhea and general sense of being unwell.
Severe stage of the infection comes with swellings on the face and hand, bleeding in different parts of the body such as ears, mouth, nose, anus and vagina.
Residents are advised to maintain a high level of personal and environmental hygiene, keep their food and water away from rats and promptly report any one with the above signs and symptoms.

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