LASSA FEVER - WEST AFRICA (23): NIGERIA (ONDO)
Posted on 23RD JUN 2017
tagged Lassa Fever, West Africa; Nigeria
Date: Thu 22 Jun 2017
Source: Nigerian Tribune [edited]
Following the fresh outbreak of Lassa fever in the Northern senatorial district of Ondo State, the State government and the management of Achievers' University, Owo have put in place some proactive measures to curb the spread of the deadly disease.
A total of 3 people had been identified to be hit with the fever in the ancient town of Owo, in Owo local government area of the state with 2 others from Akoko South West local government area of the state.
Speaking on the development, the Vice Chancellor [VC] of Achievers University, Prof. Samuel Ibiyemi, denied the outbreak of the Lassa fever within the university environment but confirmed that 1 of the students has been hit with the fever. Ibiyemi, however, disclosed that the affected student was not living within the students' hostel but lived with her parents in Owo town, saying the fever was imported from the town to the academic community.
The VC said "one of the students of the university reported to the university health center for treatment. However, she was not responding to treatment and as usual, had to be transferred to the FMC where she was diagnosed of having Lassa fever symptoms. She has since been stabilized and will be discharged anytime soon."
According to him, the investigation carried out by the school revealed that the affected student contacted the disease from outside the school, adding that "none of her roommates and friends, who have been screened, developed symptoms of the ailment."
Ibiyemi however said that the management of the institution has decided to give the students of the university a 3-week mid- semester break from [Tue 20 Jun 2017] to allay the fears of the parents who have been calling to inquire about the welfare of their children. He also said the management of the school has concluded all arrangements to carry out precautionary measures against the outbreak of the disease in the school. He said "This will allow the agitated parents to see their children and rest assured that they [are] safe and sound. The break will also enable the university to carry out the necessary precaution measures before the students resume back to school on [Sun 9 Jul 2017]."
He added that some health officials from the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Owo, had visited the school to educate the students and staff of the institution on how to guard against the disease, while he also disclosed that collaboration has been established between the school and the ministry of health in the state. "The management takes the overall wellbeing of its staff and students seriously. Nothing is therefore, spared to ensure this." the VC said.
However, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Health, Dr Taiye Oni disclosed that out of the 4 cases recorded in the state, 2 were recorded in Owo metropolis and another 2 in Akoko South West local government area of the state. He explained that the latest Lassa fever occurrence was coming at unusual time but said the state government has reactivated its disease notification and surveillance mechanism.
He advised the people to properly store their foods, especially grains and also "to give priority to personal and environmental hygiene at this critical time"
"[The] Government is doing its best to contain the recorded cases by isolating the patients, to prevent further spread, and we have embarked on aggressive contact tracing, sensitization of the people not just in Owo and Ose but across the state on preventing and precautionary measures.
"Most times, we have always run to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo state but the facility is already overwhelmed with so many cases across the country which is why we are collaborating with the Federal Medical Center, Owo in handling the recorded cases.
"We are supporting FMC Owo with protective kits, injections and tablets and just as we appeal to people with cases of me occurring fever to visit the nearest government hospital for necessary attention." he said.
[Byline: Badmus Bimbola]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[These are not the 1st cases to be reported in Ondo state this year (2017). The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] Weekly Epidemiological Report 7(21) reported that as of week 21 [week ending 27 May 2017] in Ondo state this year (2017) 13 cases have been reported of which 6 were laboratory confirmed and with 2 deaths (see Lassa fever - West Africa (21): Nigeria 20170617.5112720).
As noted in earlier comments, Lassa fever remains a problem in Nigeria because the virus is endemic there. Virus transmission to humans occurs when people are in contact with the reservoir rodent host, the multimammate mouse (in the genus _Mastomys_) or their excreta. Transmission also occurs in health facilities when personal protective equipment is not employed and barrier nursing practices are not adequate to protect staff from blood and secretions of infected patients.
Images of _Mastomys_ mice, the rodent reservoir of Lass fever virus, can be seen at http://www.ispot.org.za/node/255877.
Maps of Nigeria can be accessed at http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/nigeria.pdf and http://healthmap.org/promed/p/62. - Mod.TY]
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