Lassa fever

One dead from Lassa fever surge in Anambra, as diphtheria claims 38 lives nationwide


Lassa fever which was previously unreported in Anambra State has now been confirmed in fresh 15 cases in the state with one person reported dead, as at Thursday.

Lassa fever

This is also as the spreading cases of the throat disease, diphtheria, has now claimed a total of 38 lives nationwide.

“In Anambra, we have recorded 15 suspected cases of Lassa fever and one death since the year began,’’ Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike confirmed, adding that the state’s emergency team was already responding to the suspected cases and had put in place relevant surveillance measures to curtail the further spread.

“The government had constituted contact-tracing teams to follow up on identified cases.

“The Ministry of Health is following the national guidelines in managing cases of Lassa fever in Anambra.

“We have started contact tracing to manage the situation and prevent further spread,’’ he continued.

The Commissioner urged residents to reduce the risk of Lassa fever by keeping their environment clean always.

“Block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entering. Cover your dustbins and dispose of refuse properly.

“Practice good personal and hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap under running water,” said the commissioner.

Obidike also advised residents to visit the nearest health facility if they noticed signs or symptoms of Lassa fever, which include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains.

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa Haemorrhagic Fever, is a viral illness caused by contact with food or household items contaminated with rodents’ urine or faeces, which bear the Lassa virus.

As of January 22, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said 84 per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states.

NCDC also confirmed 123 cases of diphtheria and 38 deaths in four states as of January 22.

On the outbreak of diphtheria, Obidike said Anambra had not recorded any case and that the health ministry had taken proactive measures to guard against the spread of the disease.

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