August 4, 2021

Lassa fever threatens Nigeria health sector as death toll rises

2 min read
Lassa is a hemorrhagic fever—in about 20% of cases, it causes internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. It’s found in West Africa, in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria, and spreads to people through infected rats indigenous to the area, and contact with bodily fluids from infected individuals.

Nigeria –There is fear in Nigeria that the fresh outbreak of another haemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever) in some parts of the country, including Taraba, Nassarawa and Rivers states, may lead to another Ebola epidemic in Nigeria.

Some people have been confirmed dead by the disease in Taraba and Nassarawa states.

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Lassa fever and spreads to people through infected rats indigenous to the area and contact with bodily fluids from infected individuals

Faced with an increasing number of reported cases of another haemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever) in Taraba, Nassarawa, Rivers states and some parts in Nigeria, people are frightened the outbreak could be another Ebola crisis.

Two persons were confirmed to have died on Monday due to Lassa fever in Rivers State.
According to a report by the The Guardian, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, who disclosed this to newsmen, said the deaths occurred in the last one week.

Lassa is a hemorrhagic fever—in about 20% of cases, it causes internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. It’s found in West Africa, in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria, and spreads to people through infected rats indigenous to the area, and contact with bodily fluids from infected individuals.

Lassa fever map west Africa
Lassa fever map west Africa

Dr. Theophilus Odagme told journalists that the first fatality was between December 30, 2015 and January 1, 2016 to a mother, and later her two-week old child.
“I received a call that a mother and child had died in a hospital following similar and serious fever suspected to be Lassa fever.

“After series of tests conducted on them, it was confirmed they died of the disease,” Odagme said.
The commissioner also said that the state government was in control of the situation, adding that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other stakeholders were working to contain the outbreak. According to him, contact tracing has begun and sensitization of health care givers is ongoing to address the problem.

Odagme urged the public not to panic but report to the nearest hospital or health centre if they experience symptoms such as persistent high fever, stooling, vomiting and bleeding from the nose, mouth and anus.

“The public is advised to improve on the sanitation of their environment and home to prevent contact of rats with food stuffs.”
Story adapted from The Guardia

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