Barely a week after Nigeria was officially declared Ebola-free, another hemorrhagic fever might have began spreading in the country, as Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.
Gbadegesin, who spoke to journalists in Ibadan, according to PM News, said that the government has confirmed 10 cases of Lassa fever, three of which were brought in from another state. He however assured that the government was on top of the situation.
“We are already working to bring it under control. We are doing the best to curtail it. We have what it takes to manage it very well. I only want to appeal to our people to be very hygienic and when they feel that something is wrong with our system, we should go to the hospital for proper diagnosis of their sickness and treatment,” the commissioner said.
Also commenting on the outbreak, Head of Virology Department, University Teaching Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Olaleye, allayed the growing fear that no one was safe as black domestic rats were carriers of the virus.
“Most of these black rats in our houses don’t have this virus. Most of the rats with this virus are from the bush. There are farmers who in the process of making cassava flour will cut their cassava and spread them on the road.
“When these rats see this cassava, they go there to eat from them and in the process, they pee on them and through that they transfer the virus on the cassava. Anybody that eats out of the cassava flour made from such cassava might have the fever,” Olaleye said.
He explained that some of the cases reported as Ebola at UCH during the outbreak were actually Lassa fever cases.
“Some patients that came to UCH thinking that they had Ebola were later diagnosed of Lassa fever. Lassa fever has drug. It can be treated if promptly reported,” the academic assured.