By: Ishola Michael – Bauchi
No fewer than 22 people have been confirmed dead as a result of Lassa fever in Bauchi State within the last 12 weeks.
The confirmation was made by the Deputy Director, Disease Control and Immunization, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHDA), Haruna B. Wakili, while giving the situation of lassa fever in the state during the first quarter of 2023.
Haruna B. Wakili made the disclosure during a one-day advocacy engagement meeting with Traditional and Religious leaders on prevention of infectious diseases, organized by Development Association for Self-Sustenance (WODASS) in collaboration with stakeholders in the WASH sector with support from WaterAid Nigeria, held at the Hazibal Hotel in Bauchi on Thursday.
While giving the situation of the disease in the state, he said that within the period, a total of 678 suspected cases were recorded with 95 confirmed cases giving an alarming 23.2 fatality rate.
He added that people mostly affected are between the ages of 20-29 who are regarded as the productive segment of the society.
According to him, the highly affected local government areas in the state where cases were recorded include: Tafawa Balewa, Kirfi, Bauchi, Dass, Alkaleri and Ganjuwa, adding that Kirfi LGA recorded the highest number of cases.
He also said that Kanam LGA in Plateau State also has reported cases considering that it is sharing boundaries with a local government area of the state.
Haruna Wakili further noted that an update from the isolation center for Lassa Fever showed that new cases currently on admission in the first to the 7th week, shows that 18 persons are currently on admission.
He however lamented that people are skeptical of reporting to the health facilities for testing to ascertain their status whenever they displayed signs and symptoms of the disease.
Also Speaking, the Assistant Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, Bauchi local government, Sirajo Shuaibu Sambo said that the mortality rate for Lassa Fever is high compared to COVID 19, adding that transmission from human to human is the fastest way of contacting the disease.
He said most persons who exhibit the symptoms of the disease, do not suspect initially that they have contracted the disease until it has defied all treatment, stressing that only a test from a certified laboratory can detect the disease.
Sirajo Shuaibu however coorected the wrong perception by some persons who attribute the disease to witchcraft, stressing that early detection of the disease can save lives.
According to him, “When a person treats malaria, fever or any suspected illness and after medication, the person’s condition does not improve, he should immediately test for Lassa Fever.”
He added that, “If a person is suspected to have Lassa Fever, do not administer any first aid treatment, first contact the hospital were he will be conveyed to the Lassa Fever Isolation and treatment center.”
The medical officer then advised that as soon as someone is displaying signs and symptoms of lassa fever, such a person should be taken to the nearest health facilities for testing and diagnosis in order to ascertain.
Dep Director, Diseases Control and immunization, BASPHCDA, Haruna B. Wakili
READ ALSO FROM NAIJAONPOINT.COM.NG