103 Die of Lassa Fever in 16 States – 63 Under Watch

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) it has been reported yesterday that 103 people had died of Lassa fever since its outbreak last December 30.

With 16 states so far, namely: Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Enugu, Abia, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Sokoto and Katsina.

The number of confirmed cases this year is 586, the NCDC said.

The report, released yesterday in Abuja, says that Edo has the highest burden of confirmed cases at 35%, followed by Ondo at 32% and Ebonyi at 6%.

In total for this year, 26 states recorded at least one confirmed case in 101 areas of local government.

The report says: “Cumulatively, from week one to 07 of 2020, 103 deaths were reported with mortality rate (CFR) of 17.6%, lower than the CFR in the same period in 2019 (21.1 %).

“The predominant age group affected is 21 to 30 years (range: <1 to 78 years, median age: 33 years). The ratio of men to women in confirmed cases is 1: 1.2.

“The number of suspicious cases has increased significantly compared to that reported for the same period in 2019”.

The report adds that two new health professionals were affected in the states of Bauchi and Katsina in the week’s report.

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The Lagos state government yesterday confirmed a case of an outbreak of Lassa fever in the state, saying the patient was isolated.

The health commissioner Prof. Akin Abayomi said in a statement that the patient was in the isolation ward at Lagos University Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.

He said the government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, was working to contain the spread of the disease.

“The Ministry of Health, through the Directorate of Epidemiology, Biosafety and Global Health, is conducting ‘contact tracking’ to determine those who may have been infected according to international standards, while strengthening our other surveillance strategies,” he said. Abayomi.

The commissioner urged health professionals and citizens to report a suspected case or cases of the disease to the nearest government approved health service, the Ministry of Health or call the emergency operations center’s central lines: 08023169485, 08033565529 and 08052817243.

The commission said the confirmed index has had contact with 63 people since their arrival in Ebonyi, Lagos.

According to him, he had contact with people from the Nigeria Faculty of Law, the Nigeria Air Force Clinic and LUTH.

“They are all being monitored. If they develop any symptoms of Lassa fever, we’ll pick them up early and isolate them so we can break the cycle of transmission, ”he said.

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The commissioner, explaining how the case was identified, said the man, who came from Ebonyi for a law school program, was ill.

According to him, he was treated at the School Clinic against malaria, but he did not recover.

“He was referred to the Nigeria Air Force Clinic, Onikan, where he was subsequently administered and referred to LUTH when there was no improvement,” he said.

Abayomi said he was suspected of having Lassa fever based on his point of origin and his failure to respond to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid.

“The test was confirmed positive on February 17 and he was immediately transferred to the Isolation Containment Facility in LUTH,” he said.

This as WAPCMLS (West African Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science) stated that Nigeria has the capacity to contain any unforeseen coronavirus outbreaks.

Speaking to reporters about the planned induction of fellows and the college’s 2020 annual congress, February 21-23, WAPCMLS Chairperson Dr. Godswill Okara noted that if the coronavirus (COVID-19) comes for Nigeria, the country has the capacity, personnel and facilities designed to respond appropriately.

In addition, a pharmacist, Prof. Peace Babalola, advised the Federal Government to move from the diagnosis of coronavirus (Covid -19) to the discovery of medicines or curative vaccines for it and other viral diseases.

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The vice-chancellor of the University of Chrisland, Abeokuta, Ogun state, said the country should not wait until emergencies arise.

She further urged the federal government to commit more resources to the NCDC so that it can face health emergencies.

She noted that most of the drugs in use in country and Africa at large were manufactured with Caucasians as a test case for the preparation and trial processes, saying that this informed why there are cases of adverse reactions and low efficacy, because Africans are genetically different from Caucasians.

She said it would take up to 10 and 15 years to develop medicines or curative vaccines for any disease, emphasizing that the financial implications are also huge.

Babalola said that between $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion in drug research would be needed to discover drugs or therapeutic vaccines for a disease like the coronavirus.

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