It is official: the dreaded lassa fever virus has filtered into Enugu State and has claimed one life, the State Government announced today, Sunday 26 January 2020.

Rumours that the virus is here have been circulating for a week, with the government keeping a studied silence until today when a statement from the Health Ministry admitted to the fact.

The statement was issued to deny a secondary rumour that a nurse that treated the victim has also passed on. It is also coming two days after federal authorities declared a national emergency on the virus which they said has, by Friday 24 January, killed 29 of the 195 persons reported to have contracted the virus in 11 states.

The disease is rampant in eight West African, countries, including Nigeria, where one out of every five infected persons will likely suffer liver, spleen or kidney damage.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, who issued the statement, however, said a lot has been done quietly by the Government to contain the virus and prevent its spread.

He listed immediate preventive measures taken to include constituting a rapid response team to contain and mitigate the menace, quarantining and monitoring those with direct and indirect contact with the dead victim, and collecting blood samples of 23 persons who had direct contact with the victim for further investigations.

Government, he said, has also asked hospitals in the state to device protective measures for their patients and health personnel, and advises citizens to avoid bush burning or idling near refuse spots close to homes, both of which draw out rats, a major carrier of the virus.

Dr. Agujiobi asked citizens to “ensure that foodstuffs are properly covered, and canned drinks and bottled water properly washed before drinking.”

He also encouraged schools to observe basic hand washing hygiene and use sanitizers for students and pupils.

The Secretary asked citizens not to panic and to look out for bulletins from the Ministry regarding any further actions to take in response to the national emergency.

According to the World Health Organisation, the primary source of contact for the virus is exposure to food and household items contaminated by urine or faeces from infected rats.

The disease is rampant in eight West African, countries – Benin Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria – where one out of every five infected persons will likely suffer liver, spleen or kidney damage.

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One reply on “Enugu State confirms lassa fever case”

  1. Comment from a reader:
    Please, let us all be very careful
    Newspapers used in wrapping suya, yam, potatoes, plantain, masa and akara for us, some are from stores, houses or offices that have been invaded by rats (and you know rats are major carriers of this deadly virus)
    Newspapers are not washed and can not be washed. May God save us. If you must eat suya, fried plantain, yam, potatoes, akara, Masa et cetera. Please, go with your containers.
    Silas Usen PHC Tutor

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