The Federal Government has confirmed the death of 40 Nigerians in a Lassa fever outbreak in 10 states of the country.
According to to the Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, 86 people were infected in Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Lassa fever as an acute haemorrhagic illness which belongs to the arenarvirus family of viruses, which also includes the Ebola-like Marburg virus.
Professor Adewole called the outbreak an embarrassment . Adewole while speaking to reporters yesterday in Abuja said, “It is not the outbreak that is unusual; what is unusual is the large number of deaths recorded so far and these deaths came largely from three states; Kano, Bauchi and Niger.” He described the situation in Niger as “worrisome” because the unusual deaths dated back to August 2015 and only came to light about three to four months after – which represents a breakdown in disease notification system. Adewole also spelt out measures to check the spread of the disease, which include avoiding contact with rats and food or objects contaminated with rats’ secretions or excretion.