Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole, said the reoccurrence of Lassa fever in 10 states, leading to the death of 40 persons is an embarrassment to the Federal Government.
Confirming the death toll yesterday, the minister said 86 cases have so far been reported since the outbreak of the fever six weeks ago.
Adewole, who also emphasised that the figure was the highest since 2012 stressed that efforts are being made to allay the fears of Nigerians on the current outbreak of the viral disease.
“Immediate release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific antiviral drug for Lassa fever to all affected states for prompt and adequate treatment of cases.”
“Deployment of rapid response teams from the ministry to all affected states has been done to assist in investigating and verifying the cases as well as tracing of contacts,” he said stating that clinical and relevant healthcare workers had been sensitised and mobilised in areas of patient management and care in the affected states.
He cautioned the public to avoid contact with the rodents/rats as well as foods/objects contaminated with rats secretions/excretions.
Besides, he urged the public to avoid drying food in the open and along the roadside noting that It is also important to cover all foods to prevent rodents’ contamination and for them to report all suspected cases immediately to enable early treatment.
“The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the ‘multimammate rat called Mastomys Natalensis, which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas.
“The virus is shed in the urine and droppings of threats can be transmitted through direct contact, touching objects or eating food contaminated with these materials or through cuts or sores adding that person-to-person transmission is possible through personal contact with the virus in the blood, tissue, secretions or excrement of an infected individual.”
The minister promised that government would take care of the burial of victims, and as part of surveillance against further occurrence, government would provide Community Health Workers, CHEWs, for house-to- house health talks on hygiene, at community level.

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