- Ebonyi reports 2 new cases
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has disclosed that the dreaded Lassa fever spreading across Nigeria has affected 17 states of the federation.
The minister who stated this while inaugurating the Emergency National Lassa Fever Action Committee yesterday in Abuja, further disclosed a report of a suspected case of Lassa fever, who absconded on his way from Ebonyi State to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State, and ordered for the arrest of the patient.
The Lassa fever Action Committee is headed by Professor Oyewole Tomori, President of the Nigerian Academy of Science.
Professor Adewole promised that government would increase the Lassa fever diagnostic centres from 6 to 14 across the country.
“In the next three months, we will increase the Lassa fever diagnostic centres from six, namely; Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi Araba, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Cross River State, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, to fourteen.,’’ he assured.
According to the minister, the emergency meeting which was attended by State Commissioners of Health from the 36 States of the federation, including the FCT, was convened, following the recent outbreak of the epidemic in some states of since August 2015. He added that the meeting was aimed at laying the foundation for a multi-sectoral response to the Lassa fever outbreak as a matter of urgency.
Adewole said that the National Health Council Meeting on Lassa fever was to help participants listen to the level of preparedness and what the states are presently doing to contain the spread of the virus.
He called on all the states to strengthen their surveillance systems, report all cases and collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health for the successful implementation of the response strategy.
According to a situation report presented by the Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Professor Abdusalami Nasidi, there are 17 states affected in 62 Local Government Areas with 212 suspected cases.
According to Nasidi , the Case Fatality Rate, CFR, of Lassa fever in the country has increased with the virus spreading to other West African countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Ghana and Cote D’ Voire.
He gave the causative factors as age group, rural areas, uncovered foods and unsafe cultural practices.
The high risks states include Bauchi, Edo, Gombe, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, Taraba, Ebonyi, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Rivers, FCT-Abuja, and Oyo.
Already, NCDC has distributed 71,000 tablets of Rabivirin and 20,750 vials of Rabivirin to affected states, Nasidi said.