Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Commissioner of Health, Dr Cecilia Ojano have expressed discordant tunes over reported outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state.
Ortom, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents in Abuja last Tuesday confirmed that the deadly disease has hit the state with the death of one person.
But unknown to the governor, while he was interacting with newsmen in Abuja, his health commissioner was also briefing newsmen in Makurdi, the state capital where she stated that the state was free of Lassa fever.
According to the commissioner, the only person admitted at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, although manifested symptoms related to Lassa fever was confirmed not to have the disease as his blood samples which were tested in Edo State proved negative.
She said: “We were lucky to have gotten the blood sample from the sick person before he passed on, but we are lucky to tell you that the report was negative of Lassa fever.” The commissioner however did not disclose the ailment that killed the man.
Dr Ojabo added that the deceased was said to have attended a marriage ceremony in the neighbouring Nasarawa State where Lassa fever has been reported few days before he developed signs of the sickness.
While the state governor advised residents to stop eating rat at the moment, the commissioner allayed the fear and told residents to remain calm just as she said that the state government was not resting on its oars to ensure adequate health care for the citizens.
She urged the people to avoid direct contact with any specie of rat and to refrain from eating rat meat for now.
Investigations by Nigerian Pilot indicates that the death toll from the dreaded disease across the country has risen to 42, with about 93 cases already recorded, as the federal and state governments make frantic efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.
Already, about 10 states, including Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ondo, Sokoto and Benue have been confirmed to have recorded the presence of the epidemic.

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