*Nigerians speak *16 Taraba LGs affected *6 dead
From Joseph Asegba, Yola
Why Lassa fever resurfaced
A cross-section of Nigerians has advocated that the federal government needs to take holistic measures to end Lassa fever,saying the re-occurrence of the virus was as a result of the lackadaisical attitude and the nation’s un-seriousness over the years in keeping such things in view until the inevitable happens.
Our reporter who investigated its resurfacing, found out that Lassa fever was actually first noticed in 1968 even though many people attributed its outbreak sometime in February 1969.
Investigation by The Triumph revealed that the first case was alleged to have been contracted by a patient from Jos, Plateau State en-route to Lassa town in Askira Uba Local Government Area, Borno State.
The Triumphdiscovered that the patient, a white missionary died within a month of contracting the deadly disease.
In an interview with a native of Lassa town, theinhabitants could not however, tellThe Triumph whether the white missionary was from Jos or from abroad, but confirmed she actually died while being taken to Geneva for treatment.
Investigation further revealed that transmission of Lassa virus to humans occurs most commonly through ingestion or inhalation as Mastomys rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings and direct contact with these materials, through touching soiled objects, eating contaminated food, or exposure to open cuts or sores.
A source informedThe Triumph that the virus can be transmitted in semen for up to three months. Lassa fever is one of the hemorrhagic fevers and may appear with signs and symptoms like Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever viruses, and until these viruses are ruled out, suspected cases must be managed with infection control precautions to prevent contact with blood, body fluids, and contaminated surfaces.
Meanwhile the government has been informing and educating the people on keeping food items under safe cover.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the cases might not be unconnected with an environment that breeds more rodents.
Lassa fever is a scourge that has to be properly taken care of else it could become uncontrollable in the near future because if nothing is done to stop the epileptic outbreaks, the country is in trouble, say some citizens in Yola.
One of the respondents called on the government to do more by placing its people in view to determinetheir health status.
Meanwhile, seven out of 16 Local Government Areas of Taraba State have been affected by the disease.
The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai disclosed this at a one-day sensitization workshop organised by the State Director of National Youth Service Corps NYSC, Jalingo, Taraba State.
As at time of this report, Vakkai had identified that the Local Government Areas affected by Lassa fever are Ardo-cola, Bali, Donga, Ibi, Takum and Jalingo.
According to Vakkai, 25 persons were suspected of Lassa fever and were reported while six were confirmed dead in the State.
Responding, the State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs. Florence Yakugh urged members to clear and maintain a high level of hygiene and cleanness at all times to avoid infections.
Yakugh, however, enjoyed the corps medical team to ensure that standard rules of their protection are followed in the course of their duties and also to take hygiene issues seriously while discharging their primary assignments.