Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Four cases of Lassa fever have been reported in Borno State with one patient killed.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Salihu Kwaya-Bura disclosed at a press conference in Maiduguri on Thursday that three patients infected with Lassa fever were discovered after the death of the first victim, a case that was reported last Saturday.
“Precisely on the 18th January, 2020, we received a patient at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) who had symptoms of Lassa fever. Unfortunately, we lost the patient,” the commissioner said.
He said the medical team had conducted laboratory investigation after taken some samples and established the presence of Lassa fever in the patient system. He said efforts had also been put in place to establish all those who had contact with the patient within the period with a view to quarantining them.
He said three more Lassa fever patients had been isolated. “One of the patients had contacted the first victim in Kano and is infected now,” Kwaya-Bura explained.
He said the government decided to alert members of the public about the presence of Lassa fever in the state. He urged the people to maintain high level of hygiene in their homes and environment. He appealed to the people not to panic as government had put enough measures in place including free treatment to halt the spread of the infectious disease.
“In case of any contact with any individual having symptoms of Lassa fever like bleeding in the nose or ear, go to designated hospitals in Maiduguri,” he said.
He said the two hospitals: Abba Kyari Memorial Hospital located at Jajeri and another at Zajeri in the state capital were designated for the treatment of the disease. He appealed to medical or health personnel in the hospitals and health centre to exhibit high level of professionalism and caution when handling Lassa fever cases.
Also, he said the government had established an emergency centre with a toll-free telephone numbers: 080 099999999 for people to call.
Lassa fever, according to medical history, derives its origin from Lassa, a small community in Askira Uba, a southern part of Borno in 1969. A white woman had developed a haemorrhagic fever caused by a virus later named Lassa fever. Symptoms include headache, vomiting and muscle pains.