Govt, FMC con­firm Lassa fever case in Abia

The Punch - - NEWS - Sun­day Nwakanma, Umuahia

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

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