The Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr Kuden Deyin on Tuesday confirmed another case of Lassa fever in the state.Deyin who made the confirmation to our correspondent in Jos, said the patient who was brought-in from Garkawa in Mikang Local Government Area was displaying symptoms of Lassa fever. “After blood sample was taken from the patient, the result came out positive and the patient is currently responding to treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH). “The state has so far recorded four cases of Lassa fever and three out of the four patients are responding to treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital while one patient died,’’ he said. The commissioner advised the public to ensure that they maintain a very high standard of personal hygiene and ensure that their environments are kept clean.
“Food stuffs should be kept in rodent-proof containers and people should also desist from drying their food stuffs on the highway, as they never can tell when rats will defecate or urinate on them. “Health workers should be on the alert while private medical practitioners are advised not to keep patients who manifest symptoms of Lassa fever for long. “Rather such patients should be referred to tertiary health institutions for prompt medical attention as time was of the essence in treating Lassa fever,’’ the commissioner said. On July 8, students from Federal Government Girls College, were rushed from the school clinic to the Jos University Teaching Hospital and it was observed that they were displaying symptoms of Lassa fever. Their blood samples were taken to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) were it was discovered that three out of the four samples were positive. Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains. The virus is commonly transmitted by rats and is said to be responsible for about 5000 deaths every year. Recently the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) alerted Nigerians on the need to raise their guard against another outbreak of Lassa fever and Ebola. Dr Tunde Olawepo, the Chairman of the association in Kwara told our cotrrespondent in an interview that Nigeria must not let down its guard against the deadly virus, Ebola and Lassa fever. He noted that the government and people have relaxed measures that were initiated to contain the spread of Ebola at its outbreak in 2013. According to him, surveillance of travellers entering the country has stopped just as people had relaxed with personal hygiene like regular washing of hands and use of sanitisers. “People have stopped using hand sanitisers and frequent hand washing as before. “We need to step up with preventive measures and this means people must keep up with hygiene at all times,” he said.