The Federal Government has said that so far, 35 persons have been confirmed dead, and 76 others infected by the Lassa Fever outbreak which has affected eight states in the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said measures have been put in place to curtail further spread and reduce mortality among those affected.
He however ruled out placing travel restrictions from and to areas currently affected, adding that “the World Health Organisation is being notified of the cases confirmed.”
According to him, Nigeria has been experiencing Lassa fever outbreak in the past six weeks in Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo states.
The statement read in part, “The total number of suspected cases so far reported is 76 with 35 deaths, and a Case Fatality Rate of 46 per cent. Our laboratories have confirmed 14 cases, indicative of a new episode of Lassa fever outbreak.
“The first case of the current outbreak was reported in Bauchi in November 2015. This was followed by cases reported in Kano State, and subsequently the other states mentioned above.
“In response to these reported outbreaks, my ministry has taken the following measures to curtail further spread and reduce mortality among those affected states:
• Immediate release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific antiviral drug for Lassa fever to all the affected states for prompt and adequate treatment of case;
• Deployment of rapid response teams from the ministry to all the affected states to assist in investigating and verifying the cases and tracing of contacts;
• Clinicians and relevant healthcare workers have been sensitised and mobilised in areas of patient management and care in the affected states.
The ministry further said: “In view of the major steps taken so far: All health facilities in the country are hereby directed to emphasise routine; infection prevention and control measures and ensure all patients are treated free; family members and healthcare workers are advised to always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons; no travel restrictions will be imposed from and to areas currently affected; healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa fever should immediately contact the state epidemiologist in the state Ministry of Health or call the Federal Ministry of Health using the following numbers: 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.”