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Delta govt confirms four Lassa fever cases

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Four cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed in Delta state even as residents are advised to keep their environment clean always and ensure that rats do not breed in or around homes.

The state commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Onojaeme who disclosed this on Thursday in Asaba while speaking to newsmen listed the affected local government areas where the cases were recorded as Okpe, Oshimili North, Oshimili South and Ndokwa East council areas.

According to him, Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) have been set up across the state to monitor the situation and ensure residents are aware of what is going on.

“In week 12, we have four confirmed cases so far recorded with a fatality rate of 50% though the general fatality rate for Lassa fever is 1 – 15% so we are doing everything humanly possible to ensure that we curtail the transmission from patient to health workers and from patients to relatives,” the commissioner disclosed.

Explaining measures and efforts put in place so far, the commissioner said that the government is doing a lot of advocacy, especially to health workers and sensitisation of residents to have a high index of suspicion when they see those cases.

He said that the State government is working closely with Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State and has been able to achieve less than 24 hours of getting test results on Lassa fever as against what was commonly obtainable which was within the range of 72 hours.

On her part, the State Epidemiologist, Dr. Mildred Igumbor said that by definition one case of Lassa fever is an outbreak hence all hands should be on deck to ensure the elimination of the disease.

She explained that the State government has set up a multi-sectorial EOC comprising officials of the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture and Natural Resources among others where several partners and several subject matter experts sit and deliberate on how to tackle the disease and its spread.

According to her, Lassa fever is spread through contact with the fecal matter or urine of rats on foods hence we are sensitizing residents on the need for them to ensure rats don’t get in contact with their food so that they don’t contract the disease at the first place.

“To ensure prevention and control measures are in place in our health facilities, health workers must have a very index of suspicion. We are telling everyone that not all fever cases are malaria cases so if you are sick please go to any nearest health facility or a qualified medical personnel to seek medical attention. So if you get there and the health personnel have a high level of suspicion you will be tested and with the result received such patient will be properly managed,” she added,

Igumbor said that the Isolation Center in Federal Medical Center Asaba, built by the State Government has the capacity for isolation and management of confirmed cases and if need be for referrals they would be transferred to Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State.

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