Nigeria Is Close To Declaring Emergency Over Lassa Fever – Minister


Going by the rate at which Lassa fever is ravaging the country, the Federal Government may soon have no choice but to declare an emergency, reports Guardian.

Following the steadily rising death toll due to this virus, which is currently put at 43.2, a rate considered very high by all standards the Federal Government yesterday confirmed that Lassa Fever has continued to embarrass the country.

As part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus, the federal government has banned burial of the bodies of victims by their families. Henceforth, such bodies are state property.

Government said it took the measure to avoid further spread, as such bodies would become dangerous to handlers. Similarly, because the symptoms presented by patients are in many cases similar to those of malaria and there are non-specific symptoms associated with the ailment, interruption efforts are most times made difficult.

Giving further updates on the virus at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole urged the populace not to panic over the viral disease, saying the government and its partners were working tirelessly to address the outbreak and bring it to an end.

According to him, the states affected include Bauchi, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo.  The total number so far reported is 81 and 35 deaths, with a mortality rate of 43.2 per cent. Our laboratories have confirmed 17 cases, indicative of a new round trip of Lassa fever outbreak.

The Minister stressed that all affected states were being monitored and efforts have been put in place to intensify awareness creation on the signs and symptoms, including preventive measures, such as general hygiene. He also warned on the need to avoid contact with rats and food items or object they might have contaminated.



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