Govt, FMC confirm Lassa fever case in Abia
THE Abia State government and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, on Tuesday, confirmed the death of a Lassa fever patient in Umuahia.
Addressing newsmen, the state government, however, said the people should not panic, saying the “government is on top of the situation.”
The state Commissioner for Health, Joe Osuji, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Chief Emole Egbulefu, said the victim was a 28-year-old man from Avonkwu, Olokoro in the Umuahia South Local government Area.
He said he was confirmed to have died of Lassa fever at the Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia.
Egbelefu said the patient died the same day he was brought to the hospital on January 1. He allayed fears that the disease might spread, saying it was neither airborne nor waterborne “but only through personal or direct contact with an infected person.”
He said the outbreak was the fourth in the state from 1999 till date.
The permanent secretary explained that the disease was not caused by rat bite but contamination by the faeces or urine of the rat.
He called on Abia residents to rid their homes of rats and to ensure they covered their raw food, including garri and beans.
Confirming the case, the Medical Director, FMC Umuahia, Dr Onyebuchi Azubuike, disclosed that the case was thought to be acute appendicitis but was later discovered to be Lassa fever.
The Chairman, Medical Advisory Council, Dr Ugochukwu Onyeonoro, said, “We have de-contaminated the theatre. We have also placed contacts thought to be on highrisk level under observation.”
•L-R: Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo (right), with ex-agitators after a meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State… on Monday. Photo: Presidential Amnesty Programme