Latest Outbreak Of Lassa Fever Embarrassing – Minister

lassa-feverThe Federal Government has described as embarrassing, the current outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.

The number of persons infected by the outbreak rose to 86 while 40 deaths had been recorded in the affected states of Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, spoke on the outbreak of the virus at a press briefing in Abuja Friday.

To curb the spread of the virus, the minister said families of victims will not be allowed to perform burial rites, adding that the state will take over the activities.

Adewole said: “Lassa fever is not new to us in Nigeria, what is new is that it has continued to embarrass us. The first confirmed case was in 1969, in Lassa village in Borno State. The number of cases peaked in 2012 when 1,723 cases with 112 fatalities were recorded.

“It is also important to highlight that it is not the outbreak that it is unusual, what is unusual is the large number of deaths recorded so far and these deaths came largely from three states – Kano, Bauchi and Niger.

“The three states contributed to about 75 percent of the cases and deaths. The situation in Niger is worrisome because we had unusual death dating back to August and only came to light about three to four months after and that represents a breakdown in disease notification system. We are trying to strengthen this because deaths even when they are unusual should be reported and we should not have waited for 35 cases in Niger before sitting up and that is the worrisome part of it”.

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