3 die from Lassa Fever in Rivers State

Tina Amanda

Rivers State Ministry of Health has confirmed that out of the suspected reported cases of laser fever, three cases have tested positive to Lassa virus.

Acting Permanent Secretary and Director Planning Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Dr Chinwe Atata, who stated this while updating newsmen on the laser outbreak, said the State has procured large quantities of anti-viral agents, isolation centres are set-up across the teaching hospitals in case of any eventuality.

According to her, there is no cause for alarm, as all cases are being managed with expertise according to the standard protocol for containment.

“We have received preliminary confirmation that three (3) of the samples tested positive to Lassa Virus. The Rivers State Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) had earlier commenced pro-active effort for containment of the outbreak. All hands are on deck for facility decontamination, line-listing, presumptive prophylaxis and surveillance to ensure Public health safety and security.

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“Let me assure you that all hands are on deck to ensure rapid containment of the outbreak. There is, therefore, no cause for alarm, we will update you regularly on further development if any. I will continue to reiterate that in view of the prevailing upsurge of Lassa fever cases in the country, all health service centres have been advised to maintain simple triage system for all patients and uphold standard infection prevention principles required for service delivery”

She, however, advised the public to continue all necessary preventive measures under the circumstances and promote good Community Hygiene.

“It is important to remind the public that Lassa fever is an acute Viral Hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa Virus. The reservoir of the virus is the Multi-Mammate Rat and transmission could be from rodents-to-humans and also by ingestion of food and materials contaminated by infected rodent excreta or urine. It could also be from human-to-human by direct contact with infected blood, tissues, secretions or excretions of infected humans.

“In order to prevent rodents from entering homes the public is advised to;
-Keep food and water covered to prevent contamination by rat
-Store grains and other foodstuffs in rodents-proof containers
-Dispose of garbage far from the home and maintain clean households
-Do not dry food items in open places
-Do not touch rat with bare hands
-The use of alcohol-based sanitizers is recommended
-Avoid contact with blood and body fluids while carrying for sick persons
-Remember to wash your hands with water and soap.

She further reiterated that there is no cause for alarm as the State Ministry of Health is taking care of the situation.