Lassa Fever: Seven LGAs Under Watch As Deltan Battles With Waste

By Kenneth Orusi, Asaba

Although, no case of the Lassa fever virus has been recorded in Delta State, the state government has placed seven local government areas under surveillance due to their closeness with Edo and Rivers States where the disease has occurred to prevent a possible outbreak of the epidemics in the state.

The watch become imperative due to the high risk level of the infection on the local government areas as they share common borders with the aforementioned states just as health personnel have been deployed and placed on red alert at the Osubi and Asaba airports to report suspected cases of the virus to the nearest primary health care centre.

This was made known Monday by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge flanked by his Ministry of Information counterpart, Mr. Patrick Ukah during a press briefing in Government House, Asaba.

According to him, “Delta State has chosen to be proactive, we don’t have any of the disease case in the state but we are trying to work ahead so that we prevent it from coming instead of trying to cure it”, stating that on the part of the ministry infection control and management would be a major prority while all hospitals in the state have been placed on red alert even as surveillance and contact tracing are been intensified as in the case of the Ebola Virus Disease.

Dr. Azinge disclosed that there would be a constant border control in the seven local government areas identified geographically which include Ika South, Ika North East, Aniocha North, Oshimili North Ethiope East, Ethiope West and Warri North local government councils of the state.

While enumerating the signs and symptoms of the disease to include cough, fever, sore-throat, difficulty in swallowing, headache, chest pain, swollen on the face, eyes and neck, bleeding from the nose and gums, he said, “No case of Lassa fever has been recorded in the state”.

Meanwhile, there is palpable fear in some quarters of the state over the way and manner in which refuse dump have littered major towns including gutters otherwise known as drainage in the state including the state capital as residents dump waste indiscriminately.

It has been affirmed that Lassa fever spreads with the help of rats, especially the specie with long mouth which are seen around refuse dumps, dirty environments.

Azinge said, “we are trying to reduce those refuse dump, those are one source of rats in the areas, the more we take good care of our refuse, the more we slightly we will reduce those areas where they live and we are working hard with the new chairman of the waste management board. I think things will be better and those sources of rats on refuse will be reduce in the future”.

It would be recall that an imported case of Lassa fever outbreak has been recorded in the state 18, November 2011 from Port Harcourt in Shell training Warri, which killed the victim.