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Published On: Thu, Jan 25th, 2018

Lassa fever: Nigeria records 16 deaths

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By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Nigeria this year has recorded 16 deaths from 61 confirmed cases of Lassa fever across the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC made this known in a press statement issued yesterday.
It said a total number of 107 suspected cases has been recorded in ten states across the country.
The states included: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo and Lagos.
Meanwhile, NCDC in January 21, said 10 out of the 61 confirmed cases were health care workers from four states- Ebonyi- 7 , Nasarawa -1 , Kogi- 1 and Benue -1 out of which four are now deceased.
It said health workers are most times secondary victims who get infected while treating patients with the disease.
“Between 2005 and 2018, the infection claimed over 40 health workers in Ebonyi” the state chapter of the Nigerian medical Association, NMA said.
Also, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, on Tuesday warned all health professionals to investigate every case of fever before treatment.
Mr. Adewole said every fever must be investigated properly and treated appropriately.
He said no one should treat malaria without diagnosis.
The Executive Director, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu also advised health workers along same line urging them to practice standard precautions at all
He said health workers should maintain a high index of suspicion while treating patients with aliments which presents malaria symptoms because Lassa fever appears initially like any other disease, causing a febrile illness such as malaria.
Ihekweazu said Rapid Diagnostic Test, RDT must be applied to all suspected cases of malaria.
“When the RDT is negative, other causes of febrile illness including Lassa fever should be considered. Accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment increase the chances of survival,” he said.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness, transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.
Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures.
Lassa fever can be prevented through practicing good personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation.

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