101 Die From Lassa Fever In Nigeria, Says NCDC

lassa feverThe Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that the growing Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed a total of 101 people.

Statistics from NCDC show that reported cases of the haemorrhagic disease — both confirmed and suspected — stand at 175 with a total of 101 deaths since August.

According to the NCDC, deaths from the virus were recorded in Abuja, Lagos, and 14 other states.

The outbreak of Lassa Fever was only announced in January, months after the first case of the disease happened in August, with subsequent deaths reported in 10 states, including Abuja.

In 2015, 12 people died in Nigeria out of 375 infected, while in 2012 there were 1,723 cases and 112 deaths, according to the NCDC.

In neighbouring Benin Republic, at least nine people have died in a Lassa outbreak, with a total of 20 suspected cases.

Scientists Close To Quicker Lassa Fever Diagnosis

lassa feverThe leader of a group of scientists says tackling the outbreak of Lassa Fever might be closer than imagined as his team has come up with a diagnosis that can diagnose Lassa fever virus within ten minutes.

‎Professor Christian Happi disclosed this at a forum in Ede, Osun State while speaking on new discoveries on Lassa virus.

Professor Christian Happi said that the new discoveries include a ten-minute rapid diagnostic test, neutralizing antibodies that inhibit Lassa fever virus while vaccines for the treatment of the virus are being worked upon.

He disclosed that using next generation sequencing, the research team has identified a signal of natural selection in human gene called LARGE in the Yoruba populations of southwest Nigeria that may be associated with protection to Lassa Fever Virus.

With careful hypothesis, Prof Happi believes that this could be key to the future Lassa Fever Vaccine.

Happi added that Africa needs to produce more scientists that will deal with emerging trends in health related issue.

Lassa Fever: Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Lassa feverMedical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, have said that Lassa fever has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

According to doctors at the institute, although Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, it has largely been ignored.

“Since 1969, Lassa fever became known as a clinical entity and now we are in 2016 many people are still not aware, the drugs are still largely unavailable, and vaccines are not available unlike other diseases that have had serious attention,” one of the doctors said.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country have asked the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“You don’t want a situation where patients with viral haemorrhagic fevers – Lassa fever are managed in ordinary wards and facilities. You want dedicated facilities for them.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

The idea for the Lassa Fever Research Centre in Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital was born after a family in Ekpoma, also in Edo State was almost wiped out by the disease.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sylvannus Okogbenin, said that the disease was endemic in Ekpoma and many other communities in Edo State.

“We think it is endemic in Ekpoma. It may also be endemic in many other communities in Nigeria but if there is no index of suspicion or if tests have not been done in that community, you may not know what is causing the fevers and the deaths,” he said.

Since November 2015, 19 positive cases have been confirmed at the laboratory in the research centre.

The Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Lassa Fever Leaves One Person Dead In Edo

lassa feverThe Edo State government has confirmed that one person has died from Lassa fever disease.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Heregie Aihanuwa, said that the dead person was among the five persons that were brought to the Irrua Specialist Hospital for showing symptoms of Lassa fever disease.

Dr. Aihanuwa explained that three out of the six infected persons were treated and discharged, adding that the deceased victim did not report her sickness early enough.

According to the commissioner, all cases of Lassa fever are treated in isolation wards in specialized centres such as institute of Lassa fever research and control at the Irrua Specialist Hospital.

Doctors Blame Negligence For Spread

Meanwhile, medical practitioners at the Lassa Fever Research Centre at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital have said that disease has been spreading in the country because authorities have not given the disease the attention it requires.

Asides highlighting funding as a big challenge, the officials who conducted Channels Television round the foremost and only Lassa fever research institute in the country are asking the government to set up more diagnostic centres across the country.

“Since 2007, we have been making a case repeatedly for the establishment of centres of this nature in the other geopolitical zones or health zones in the country because Nigeria is a vast country.

“As we speak, sadly, I am not aware that these centre have attained any stage for replication elsewhere in the country,” said Professor George Akpede.

Lassa Fever: Kaduna Govt. Enlightens Residents On Personal, Environmental Hygiene

lassa feverThe Kaduna State Government says it has stepped up its surveillance system to prevent Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Paul Dogo, who announced this while briefing reporters, claimed that the state government has trained its health workers in all the 23 local governments on how to identify and report any suspected case of Lassa fever.

He said that the state government has also procured necessary equipment to help in early detection of the disease, as well as designated a facility to be used as an isolation centre should any case be recorded.

Dr Dogo advised residents to avoid contact with rats and observe good personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the spread of Lassa fever. He also admonished them to dispose their waste properly and clean the environment so that rats would not be attracted.

The Permanent Secretary also explained some of the early symptoms of the disease which occur within three weeks of coming in contact with the virus. They include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.

He urged the public to report any case of the symptoms to the nearest health centre.

There have been reported cases of Lassa fever outbreak in some states such as Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Kano, Rivers and Edo, leaving some people dead and others hospitalised.