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Lassa Fever claims 19 in Taraba


Lassa Fever claims 19 in Taraba

Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo

At least Nineteen persons are confirmed killed  by Lassa fever between January and February this year at Federal Medical Center FMC Jalingo, in Taraba State.

The state commissioner of health  Gbangsheya Buma confirmed the outbreak of the disease to journalists said eight out of nine suspected cases that were tested last as at last week Friday came out positive.

He reveal that the state ministry of health was closely monitoring the situation and working in collaboration with Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and FMC Jalingo authorities to contain the spread of the disease.

“It is not a surprising thing, this is the season and we have made preparations, though the outbreak may be overwhelming, I just received support from NCDC, they have sent some people here to provide technical support with the aim of stopping the progress of the disease”

“We are actually on top of it. We have provided support as a state to the FMC to provide free treatment to patients of lassa fever

“Eight of the Nine blood samples from suspected cases collected from FMC Jalingo as of last Friday have been confirmed for Lassa fever.” Buma said

The acting head of clinical services at the FMC Jalingo, Joseph Kuni who further confirm this while speaking with journalists on phone said that “presently we have ten patients in our isolation ward, some of them their results are being awaited.

Mr Kuni disclosed that from January to February the center had recorded 19 Lassa Fever related deaths from the isolation center.

“From January to February we sent 105 samples and 60 of them came out positive for lassa while 39 came out negative while the remaining ones are still being awaited.

He said the FMC Jalingo center cannot perform the test due to the fire outbreak that affected the modular laboratory last year, therefore they either sent the samples to Bauchi or Abuja.

He also confirmed that one of the hospital staff, a medical doctor, was also affected but has since been treated and discharged.

Kuni noted that the number of the cases this year is alarming compared to previous years, that is why the center solicited support from the state government and NCDC and acted positively.

“This year the number of patients at the center is on a higher side compared to previous season, that’s why is challenging for us, in fact we have written for more assistance from NCDC and the state government, despite the fact that they have been doing well in assisting us, we are still soliciting from them to do more considering the number of cases we have recorded.

He said the majority of the cases are from the central part of the state.

Kuni said Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus, which is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

“The disease is endemic in Nigeria, with sporadic outbreaks occurring primarily during the dry season.”

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