Following renewed outbreak of Lassa fever in some states Ekiti State has heightened its surveillance of the disease.
The National Centre for Disease Control stated on Friday that Lassa fever had killed 80 persons as of Thursday.
It listed affected states as Edo (192), Ondo (150), Taraba (21), Ebonyi (17), Bauchi (15), Benue (8), Plateau (8) and Kaduna (7).
Others are Enugu State (5), Nasarawa (3), Kogi (3), Cross River (1), Imo (1), Anambra (1), Delta (1), and Abia (1).
Dr Oyebanji Filani, Ekiti State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, said in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti that the ministry’s intervention was to nip the incidence of the disease in the bud.
Filani said the measure was to also mitigate the outbreak of the disease in any part of the state.
The commissioner said government was also using the opportunity to alert public on the outbreak and spread of Lassa fever in some states.
“Given the risk of this outbreak escalating across the country, especially during this dry season, the Ministry of Health has intensified surveillance activities.
“Surveillance teams have been notified at the local government area level on how to quickly identify and report suspected cases.
“This is in line with earlier developed emergency operations plan to tackle a possible Lassa fever outbreak in Ekiti State,’’ he stated.
The commissioner added that government was also leveraging on the capacity that had been built during COVID-19 response.
He described Lassa fever as an acute viral haemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.
“Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in healthcare settings when there is the absence of or inadequate infection control measures.
“Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria, so a high index of suspicion is required especially for healthcare workers.
“Healthcare workers are hereby directed to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever while consistently observing standard protocols for infection prevention and control.
“Rapid Diagnostic Tests must be applied to all suspected cases of malaria. When the test is negative, other causes of febrile illness including Lassa fever should be considered.
“Government remains committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of Ekiti State people.
“We urge everyone to take personal responsibility to mitigate the spread of this disease in their communities,’’ the Commissioner added. (NAN)