Lassa Fever Spreads To Edo, Kills One


BEVERLY HILLS, January 11, (THEWILL) – Edo State government on Monday confirmed the death of one person in the state from Lassa fever.

THEWILL reports that the Federal Government had last week reported cases of Lassa fever outbreak in 10 states of the federation – Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo.

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, had at a press briefing in Abuja last Friday, put the number of persons so far infected to 86 out of which 40 deaths had been recorded across the affected states.

Confirming the outbreak in the state, Aihanuwa Eregie, the state Commissioner for Health, at a press briefing in Benin City, said five persons were diagnosed of the disease in the state.

According to Eregie, six samples of Lassa fever cases were sent to Irrua Specialist Hospital. Five of the samples were from Edo State while one was from Plateau State.

Eregie said four of the samples were sent in from Etsako West and one from Uhunmwode local government areas, respectively, saying the affected local governments were overtime noted to be endemic to the Lassa fever disease.

“We have presently recorded some cases of this disease in a few local government areas in the state and virtually all residents of the state are at risk of this deadly diseases, because of the high mobility of the residents of the state,” she said.

Lassa fever is a haemorrhagic viral disease caused by Lassa virus from rats to humans, she said, adding that the symptoms of the disease are severe illness with fever associated with bloody stool, vomiting blood or unexplained bleeding from gums, nose, vagina, skin or eyes.

The commissioner listed measures put in place by the state government to stop the further spread of the outbreak to include, health education and social mobilisation of the people, linkage to Institute of Lassa fever research and control for free testing and expert treatment.

Other measures are, intensification of surveillance for Lassa fever and other diseases, sensitisation of clinicians and other healthcare workers and early referral of suspected cases to nearby hospital.

She however advised the people of the state to avoid direct contact with rats, proper and regular hand washing, protection of foodstuffs and consumables from rats through storage in covered containers, among others.

Story by David Oputah