Borno Govt. Confirms First Case Of Lassa Fever

Lassa Fever, Plateau State, Kamshak KundenThe Borno State Government has confirmed the diagnosis of Lassa fever in a 32-year-old woman in Zabarmari, a village located on the outskirts of Maiduguri metropolis.

The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, who said this noted that incident was the first to be recorded in the state in northeast Nigeria.

Dr. Mshelia said the survivor fell sick last week and was admitted at a government hospital in Maiduguri, while a sample of her blood was taken to Lagos for test and returned positive.

He said though the situation was under control as the victim was responding to treatment, the ministry had to summon all stakeholders, including traditional rulers to sensitise the public on the need to ensure proper sanitation and avoid eating rodents, especially rats.

The commissioner noted that officials from the ministry had visited Zabarmari where they identified 23 people who had contact with the victim.

“So far we are in contact with 23 of her relations and we are following them up; all of them are healthy.

“But this disease takes between two to 21 days to develop; so we will not stop following them up until this period elapses,” he said.

Dr. Mshelia stressed further that those suspected to have personal contact have been quarantined.

He hinted that the ministry would soon embark on house-to-house fumigation, assuring the people of the state that there was no cause for alarm.

“We have formed teams that are to follow the relations, teams that are to go to the hospital and ensure that single case is treated properly and nobody catches the disease, and we have enlightened teams among others,” he said.

The incident management team, according to the commissioner, comprises “the state ministry of health, the Federal Government’s Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and our partners chiefly the World Health Organisation and the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA)”.

Mshelia explained that “the role of BOSEPA is to move to Zabarmari and we will try to see if we can catch few of the rats for examination.

“Then the whole town will be fumigated house-to-house, to get rid of the rats that are there that could be infected”.

A report published in January 2017 by the NCDC had warned on the increased number of Lassa fever cases, even as it advised increased focus on prevention and preparedness.

The report indicated that from December 2016, Nigeria has recorded 19 cases of Lassa fever and six deaths in seven states.

Plateau State Records Four New Cases Of Lassa Fever

lassa feverPlateau State in Nigeria’s north-central region has reported four fresh cases of Lassa fever in the state.

The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Kuden Kamshak, told reporters on Tuesday that the cases were being investigated, with the samples taken to the Diagnostic Centre at Irrua in Edo State for analysis.

Dr. Kamshak explained that altogether, seven cases had been reported in the state while only two have tested positive to the disease.

The Commissioner added that the state government had deployed health workers across the state to sensitise citizens on symptoms and preventive measures against the disease.

These fresh cases came days after Plateau State and three other states were added to the list of states with fresh cases of Lassa fever.

On September 2, five more cases of Lassa fever were reported in four states in Nigeria, increasing chances that the disease could spread further.

Confirming the new cases, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that two cases were reported from Plateau State, one from Rivers, and one each from Bauchi and Gombe. They all occurred between August 24 to September 2.

Five New Cases of Lassa Fever Discovered In Four States

Lassa feverFive more cases of Lassa Fever have been reported in four states in Nigeria, increasing chances that the disease could spread further.

Confirming the new cases, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that two cases were reported from Plateau State, one from Rivers, and one each from Bauchi and Gombe. They all occurred between August 24 to September 2.

The individual with the Lassa fever in Gombe died on August 22 while others are still alive.

According to the agency, public health response has commenced in all the affected states under the leadership of the respective state’s Ministries of Health.

“Resources were immediately mobilised from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and its partner, the Nigerian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP), to support the investigation and management of cases in the affected states,” the agency said in a statement.

lassa fever
Natal multimammate mouse is the primary animal host of the Lassa virus

The Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stressed the need for early detection of the disease and reporting of the cases.

“We commend the early detection and reporting of the most recent cases, as it significantly improves the likelihood of survival for the cases and also reduces the risk of further transmission. We also urge all States to report cases immediately for Lassa fever while improving on the timeliness of their reporting generally,” Dr. Ihekweazu stated.

As a result of increasing number of cases of Lassa fever, the NCDC also issued an advisory to all States, reminding them of the steps they have to take to prepare and respond to cases of Lassa fever and other haemorrhagic fevers, as well as the resources that they can access for this.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control further reiterated its commitment to supporting the States to prevent the spread of Lassa fever in Nigeria.

Virus Spreads To Human

Lassa fever fresh cases resurfaced on August 22, with Delta State recording the death of a medical doctor.

After his death, several other persons have been placed under surveillance in different states, with sensitisation campaigns also increasing.

The virus spreads to human from rodents and it is then shed in their excreta (urine and feces), which can be aerosolised.

In fatal cases, Lassa fever is characterised by impaired or delayed cellular immunity leading to fulminant viremia.

Infection in humans typically occurs by exposure to animal excrement through the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts.

Inhalation of tiny particles of infectious material (aerosol) is believed to be the most significant means of exposure.

It is possible to acquire the infection through broken skin or mucous membranes that are directly exposed to infectious material.

Transmission from person to person has also been established, presenting a disease risk for healthcare workers.

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.

FG Launches Public Health Emergencies Call Centres

lassa fever Public healthThe Federal Government has launched a Public call centre at Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to take care of all Public Health emergencies.

Launching the call centre on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, reiterated the determination of the present administration to provide access to health care information that will keep diseases away from Nigeria.

In a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, the Minister urged Nigerians to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the centre to help the government prevent diseases, especially the current Lassa fever outbreak.

The Minister called on citizens, who have symptoms of Lassa fever, to call any of the 10 numbers 097000010 to 19 from anywhere in the country for direction to the appropriate state Epidemiologist or the nearest health facility.

The Minister also said, where possible, patients could be picked-up from their locations and taken to the nearest health facility.

He assured the public that anyone that would use the call facility would certainly receive help.

Niger Govt. Pledges Adequate Control Of Lassa Fever Spread

Lassa-FeverThe Niger State Government has advised members of the public not to panic over the reported outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state.

The Commissioner for Health and Health Services, Dr. Mustapha Jibril in a statement issued said that government has stepped in to contain the situation.

He said measures are been put in place to address the development as blood samples of those suspected to have been infected by the disease have been taken for laboratory test at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in Abuja and Lagos.

“I wish to allay the fears of our people on the reported case of the Lassa fever breakout in three communities of Fuka Ward, Muyan Local Government Area of the state. The state government has taken steps to contain the disease and its spread.

“The Ministry of Health and Health Services have swung into action in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the local government to bring the situation under control,” Jibril stated.

The Commissioner further said that his ministry has strengthened monitoring and surveillance on the affected communities in Fuka Ward, Muyan Local Government Area of the state.

He then called on members of the public to come up with information on any suspected disease or death to the nearest health centre.

Symptoms Of Ode-Irele Disease Not Similar To Ebola – Mimiko

mimiko-on-ode-irele symptomsThe Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has disclosed that the symptoms observed in Ode-Irele, where a strange ailment broke out, bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease or any known epidemic disease.

Governor Mimiko made the statement during a statewide broadcast on the strange ailment which has killed about 17 people in the last few days.

The Governor added that investigations thus far have been in conjunction with development partners, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and from the report sent to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. There are no new cases of the ailment in the last 48 hours and none in the hospital.

He further stated that trained volunteers for active surveillance and case management have been deployed, while advocacy and sensitization efforts are ongoing in print and on electronic media.

Governor Mimiko further said that the final laboratory results of cerebro spinal fluid, blood and urine specimens of victims taken for examination are being awaited as this would help in surmounting the challenge as soon as possible.

The Governor equally advised the people of Ondo State to adhere to strict demands of hygiene such as regular washing of hands and covering of mouths while sneezing.

Experts Warn Ebola Virus Could Spread Across West Africa

Ebola-VirusHealth experts have warned that the Ebola Virus could spread across West Africa in one of the most challenging outbreaks of the disease the international community has ever witnessed.

Scores of deaths in Guinea and in Liberia have been linked to the current outbreak of Ebola, which began in January, According to the spokesperson for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tariq Jasarevic.

In Nigeria, health officials said seven reference disease centres were being upgraded nationwide to check any possible outbreak of the disease.

More than 100 people have been reported dead in the West African country of Guinea and Liberia, according to the WHO.

The WHO describes the Ebola outbreak as one of the most challenging incidents that the world has ever seen.

So far, Guinea has counted close to 160 suspected cases of Ebola with more than 100 deaths from the disease.

In neighbouring Liberia, there have been ten fatalities so far with 21 other infection linked to the disease.

Trying To Stop Spread

In Nigeria, a project consultant and epidemiologist at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chukwudi Ukpaka, says even though the disease does not exist in Nigeria, the upgrades of the medical facilities in seven centres would help ensure proper control in situations of outbreak.

“There is no treatment or vaccine against Eboloa. The main thing for people to do is to avoid doing things that will expose them to Ebola. People should desist from eating bats,” Dr Ukpaka said.

When the outbreak of the Ebola Virus was reported in some parts of West Africa, there were rumours that the virus was already in Nigeria. But the Minister of State for Health, Dr Khliru Alhassan, said that what people thought was Ebola was Dengue Fever.

International aid organisations are trying to stop the spread of the disease.

That the Nigerian Medical Association said the symptoms of Ebola were like those of other diseases or fever that are known to Nigerians.

The association advised Nigerians to ensure that there environments were kept clean.

The Nigerian Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, however, assured Nigerians that the government was doing its best to ensure that persons coming into Nigeria from the country reported to have had cases of the Ebola Virus were properly checked at the port of entry.

Ebola was named after a River in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it was first discovered in 1976.

It is spread through the exchange of blood or other bodily fluid and its symptoms are like that of other flu.

Nigeria At Risk Of Contracting Ebola Virus – Expert

Dr Bamidele OkeA Clinician at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Dr. Bamidele Oke, has warned that Nigeria is risk of contracting the Ebola Virus which has led to the deaths of several people in some West African nations.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Dr. Oke disclosed that the new strain of the virus which was discovered recently “does not remove the fact that it can get to Nigeria.”

He disclosed that there were four different species of Ebola virus, of which two – Zaire, Sudan, were notorious for outbreaks and fatality.

“The first outbreak which was in a village in Sudan in 1976 recorded 53% casualty. In the same year, another outbreak in Zaire recorded about 90% fatality rate. This led scientists to believe that the Zaire specie was deadlier than others.”

However, a new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, disclosed that a new strain of the Zaire Ebola virus had been discovered. “That means they just found one or two things different from it.”

According to him, 120 deaths have been confirmed so far and “that means it’s actually a violent strain.” Countries where the virus’ presence has been confirmed include Liberia, Mali and Guinea.

Speaking about the efforts being made to contain the outbreak, Oke said that Nigeria could not afford to heave a sigh of relief until it ensures that standard procedures were put into practice.

Asked if the said procedures have been evoked, the doctor admitted to having knowledge of instructions by the Ministry of Health to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to start an awareness campaign to enlighten the citizens.

However, he noted that this was just a first step in the procedure, adding that there was a need to educate health workers and ensure that hospitals have standard isolation rooms.

On the probability that the virus might get into the country, Oke said that the risk level could not be gauged because of migration. “As we speak now, Saudi Arabia won’t allow people from Liberia and Guinea to travel for Hajj”, he noted.