Lassa fever kills two in Katsina, Ebonyi

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The Executive Secretary of the  Katsina State Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr Shamsudeen Yahaya, on Wednesday confirmed  that Lassa fever killed a pregnant woman in the state on Sunday.

Also, the Ebonyi State  Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike, has confirmed  23 cases of Lassa fever in the state.

However, one of our correspondents learnt that one person has been killed  by the disease in Ebonyi State.

Yahaya, who made the revelation at a press conference in Katsina, said  the deceased resided at Kwarin Yashe village in the Kusada Local Government Area of the state.

However, he  did not reveal the identity of the woman.

Yahaya said another woman, who tested positive  for the disease had been receiving treatment at the Kankia General Hospital.

He said,  “We have collected seven samples of suspected cases of Lassa fever, and out of the samples that we have collected, four are negative, while two are positive. One died on Sunday night and the other one is responding to treatment.

“The victim that died was three months’ pregnant. She was admitted on   January 20.”

The state Commissioner for Health, Yakubu Danja,  said the state had adopted strategies to curb the spread of the disease in the state.

He  said  screening centres had been created at various points  while a team known as Disease Surveillance Team had been created in the 34 LGAs to report any  case of the disease.

Umezurike, who  addressed a press conference  in Abakaliki, said his ministry had activated an emergency operation centre to coordinate the state response in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, partners and relevant stakeholders in the health sector.

He said, “There has been an increase in the number of Lassa fever cases reported from several states across the country since the beginning of the year.

“The outbreak is currently active in Ebonyi State with a total of 23 cases confirmed in six LGAs (Abakaliki, Izzi, Ikwo, Izzi, Ohaukwu and Ohaozara).

“Since the  outbreak, the state has intensified its response through enhanced surveillance, contact tracing and active case search in all the LGAs by the epidemiology team.”

Meanwhile, a female Lassa fever patient,(name withheld), on Monday, successfully delivered of a baby girl, The PUNCH has learnt.

Management of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, disclosed this during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The Chief Medical Director, Dr. Emeka Onwe-Ogah, who briefed journalists, on behalf of the  hospital management, noted that although the woman tested positive for the virus, she was successfully treated eventually and awaiting to be discharged.

The CMD said this was the second time such a thing was recorded in the country.

He pointed out that another pregnant Lassa fever female patient was in labour and expressed the hope that her case would end like that of the first woman.

 Centre confirms 104 cases, 47 deaths

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said the number of new  cases of Lassa fever has increased to 104 with 47 deaths recorded since the outbreak of the disease in January.

The NCDC in a situation report released on Wednesday said 23 states had recorded at least one confirmed case of Lassa fever since its outbreak.

They are Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Delta, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, FCT, Gombe, Enugu, Kebbi, Anambra, Osun, Ogun, Borno, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Benue, Gombe and Rivers.

The centre said, “Of all the 76 per cent confirmed cases, 35 per cent from Edo, another 35 per cent from Ondo and six per cent from Ebonyi.

“The predominant age-group affected is 21-30 years. The male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1.2. Similarly, the number of suspected cases has significantly increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2019.”

No fewer than 10 health care workers have been affected since the outbreak, according to the NCDC.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria has said both Lassa fever and Coronavirus  are avoidable.

The  body advised  Nigerians to ensure  that their homes and workplaces were  clean.

The state Chairman, AGPMPN, Dr Rabiu  Kusimo, said there was no alternative to an individual’s improved personal hygiene to achieve good health and absence of disease.

According to Kusimo, Lassa fever and Coronavirus are the two prominent diseases ravaging the world today.

News credit: Punch NG.

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