Deadly Virus Hits Nigeria, Kills 63

            The Federal Government has confirmed that lassa fever has claimed 63 lives out of 212 suspected cases reported from 62 local government areas in affected states.

This report was disclosed by the Minister of Heatlh, Prof. Isaac Adewole on Tuesday during an emergency meeting of the National Council of Health held in Abuja on the outbreak of the disease.

The Minister  listed the 17 affected states as Bauchi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Nasarawa, Lagos, Delta, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Zamfara and Kogi as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He condemned the high level of denial and conspiracy across some states, appealing to  health workers not to deceive executives by pretending and being silent. The minister described the denial of Ebonyi to report five suspected cases and one death as a conspiracy.

Every state, he said, is currently at risk and and should ensure it  put measures in place to contain and prevent the disease. He also assured the public that the federal government would maintain high level of alert all year round to celebrate the victory over Lassa fever next year.

“With the resources available we will collectively eliminate the disease in Nigeria soon. We have special facilities around us and we have adequate human resource to address the challenge. We will strengthen the Primary Health Care Centres across the country to enhance the surveillance mechanism.”

Adewole said that as the government, as part of its effort to kick out the disease in the country would set 5,000 primary health centers before the year runs out.

“A committee had already been set up to map out health care centers across the country would benefit from the programme. At least one primary health care centre will be functional in a ward.”

He added that six of the most affected states will have Lassa fever diagnostic centres. These states  are Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi and Ondo states.

This would be in addition to the six Lassa fever treatment centers already in existence, namely Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), University College Hospital Ibadan, and the National Centre for Disease Control, Asokoro, Abuja.

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