By Christiana Ekpa
The House of the Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain and prevent the outbreak of lassa fever in Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Bauchi, Anambra and other parts of the country.
It equally advised Federal Ministry of Health to create more awareness on dangers of lassa fever and other communicable diseases to enable the populace adopt preventive measures of avoiding being infected by the disease.
The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Robert Aondona Tyough (PDP, Benue) at the Thursday plenary.
The Green chamber also mandated its committee on healthcare services to ensure compliance and report back in 4 weeks for further legislative action.
Leading debate on the motion, Tyough noted that Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa, the Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
“Also notes that Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures;
“Further notes that Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well. The overall case-fatality rate is 1%. Observed case-fatality rate among patients hospitalized with severe cases of Lassa fever is 15%”
“Aware that on 21 January 2019, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) declared an outbreak of Lassa fever following an increase in the number of cases, a total of 213 confirmed cases including 41 deaths were reported from sixteen states including Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, Anambra, Kaduna, Kwara, FCT, Benue, Rivers, Nassarawa and Kogi States across 40 Local Government Areas (LGAs);
“Also aware that in the reporting week 26 between 24th – 30th June, 2019 two new confirmed cases were reported from two states of Edo(1) and Benue(1) states with one new death from Benue state;
“Further aware that from 1st January to 30th June, 2019, a total of 2882 suspected cases have been reported from 22 states, of which 603 were confirmed positive, 17 probable and 2262 negative (not a case);
“Concerned that since the onset of the 2019 outbreak in the country, there have been 136 deaths in confirmed cases putting fatality ratio in confirmed cases to a high 22.6%;
Tyough, who represents Kwande/Ushongo federal constituency expressed worry that the commissioner for health and human services, in Benue State, Dr. Sunday Ongbabo has confirmed another round of outbreak of Lassa fever in the state with the death of a patient in Makurdi the state capital.
According to him, there is an outbreak of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (Lassa) in the neighboring states and Benue has confirmed one index case as of September 14, 2019, with one death.
The House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase approved the motion without dissenting voices.