The Benue State government says two people have lost their lives as a result of Lassa Fever in the State, of which 17 were confirmed out of 42 suspected cases.
Joseph Ngbea, commissioner of Health and Human services, disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking on this year’s One Health Lassa Fever Awareness Week, in Makurdi.
According to him, Lassa Fever is a public health concern in Nigeria and in Benue with the outbreaks occurring regularly.
The commissioner said for this year alone, “the State has a fatality rate of 11.7,” saying it is not just worrisome but calls for collective action to stop the spread of the disease in Benue.
He described Lassa Fever as a zoonotic disease transmitted from rodents to humans and can be transmitted through person to person contact and cautioned the people to desist from hunting and eating of rats
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It is dangerous but preventable if steps such as good hygiene, storing of food in secured containers, keeping the home and surrounding clean, seeking medical attention immediately symptoms are noticed.”
Ngbea further listed the symptoms to include fever, fatigue, headache, sore throats, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and in severe cases, internal bleeding, leading to death
He urged health workers to observe infection prevention and control measures including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, environmental cleaning and disinfection, isolation and quarantine as well as patient education.
Ngbea also called on residents to implement vector control measures that will reduce rats habitats and eliminate rats completely from our environment so as to prevent the disease.
He disclosed that about 100 VAX of Ribavirin has been procured by the state government to address the disease among patients and health workers when diagnosed and appealed to those with strange symptoms to visit the hospital immediately.
Ngbea insisted that those who see rat as a delicacy must desist from it with immediate effect.