Thursday, 21 January 2016

Lassa Fever: Death Toll May Hit 1000

The Federal Government has warned that the current outbreak of Lassa fever could kill 1,000 Nigerians, adding that it has spread to 17 states in the country, with Edo, Rivers, Nasarawa and Taraba States, Bauchi, Kano and Niger States identified as hotspots of the virus.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, stated this at the emergency National Council on Health (NCH) meeting with Commissioners for Health from all the states of the federation and other stakeholders in the health sector in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to the minister, “There is a high level of denial and a conspiracy of silence in some of our states. I think people take delight in saying we have no case and to me that is not the issue.

“In fact, if you are able to pick suspicious cases, to me that is the issue because that goes to tell us that the surveillance system is at work.

Adewole ominously cautioned that Nigeria might witness about 3,000 cases and 1,000 deaths if nothing was done to curb the current spread of the virus.

He also warned against the traditional habit of drying grains and other food items on road pavements, adding that food items might become contaminated by rats, transmitters of the disease.

The objective of the meeting, according to the minister, was aimed at facilitating discussions on the control of the Lassa fever outbreak, and developing strategies for prevention and management of all cases in Nigeria, among others.

Adewole told the gathering that so far the Lassa fever virus had spread to 64 local governments areas in 17 states, with the country recording 212 suspected cases.


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