One dead as Lassa fever breaks out in Abia
By Steve Oko
An outbreak of Lassa fever has claimed one person in Abia State.
The State Government has however asked residents not to panic over the development, assuring that it is on top of the situation.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Chief Emole Egbulefu who confirmed the incident Tuesday during a press briefing in his office, however, said government was on top of the situation.
Providing more insight on the index case, the Permanent Secretary said a 28 – year old man from Avomkwu, Olokoro in Umuahia South LGA was confirmed to have died of Lassa fever at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia.
According to him, the patient died the same day he was brought to the hospital on the first of January 2020.
He however, allayed fears of rapid spread of the disease which he said is neither airborne nor waterborne but only through personal direct contact with an infected person.
The Permanent Secretary said that all those who had contacts with the index patient had already been placed on serious surveillance.
According to him, Lassa fever is not a deadly disease but a viral illness caused by a specie of rat.
“Lassa fever is curable”, he said , explaining that “within 48 hours of treatment of an identified case, it would be contained”.
According to him, the current outbreak is the fourth time it was being witnessed in the State between 1999 and 2020.
The Permanent Secretary revealed that the index case was not as a result of rat bite but through contamination with the faeces or urine of rat.
Egbulefu called on Abia residents to rid their homes of rats as well as cover their raw food especially garri to avoid rats urinating on it.
The Permanent Secretary advised those with fever to report to hospital for early diagnosis and treatment to avoid spread of the disease.
He however said the State Government was fully prepared to contain the situation.
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