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LASSA FEVER- Kaduna confirms five deaths

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The Kaduna State Government has confirmed five deaths following Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

The confirmation is in a report on the outbreak of the disease made available to the Newsmen the state’s Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Umma Ahmed, on Tuesday in Kaduna.

She stated that an initial six samples were collected to confirm the outbreak, followed by another six samples from contacts, which were sent to Bayero University Kano for analysis, “with a 24-28 hour turnaround time for the result

She indicated that the index case was a 26-year-old youth corps member who took ill on Feb. 9, presented at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, but died on Feb. 20.

“Symptoms presented included fever, headache, convulsion, and bleeding.

“Thereafter, a total of 32 suspected cases were line-listed and samples collected. Six cases were confirmed positive, with five deaths and a male-female ratio of 1:1.

“The result also showed five were negative, while 21 results are being awaited.”

According to the report, 99 contacts have so far been line-listed and are being followed up, as 19 others also developed some form of symptoms, and their samples were collected. The commissioner said that the state government had so far taken some measures to combat the outbreak of the disease.

She listed the deployment of state and local government areas’ Rapid Response Teams and the activation of the Incident Management System at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Mando, Kaduna.

Other measures are active case search, contact tracing, follow-up, risk communication activity, and media management, as well as the supply of drugs and consumables to the 44 Army Reference Hospital and the IDH, Mando

Some other measures taken, Ahmed said, were the supply of rodent equipment by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as interventions for rodent control by a team from the Federal Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the state team.

She listed challenges encountered in combating the spread of the disease, including the late presentation of patients to the hospital, poor adherence to infection prevention control in health facilities, and non-adherence to the use of triage points.

She reiterated the state government’s determination to intensify surveillance at all levels, as well as follow-ups on the listed contacts.

She added that “though Lassa fever is contagious and fatal, adherence to Infection Prevention Control and an early presentation will reduce mortality.”

Discovered in Nigeria in 1969, Lassa Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Arena Virus Lassa.

Its seasonal clustering is mostly in the late and early dry seasons, and it affects all age groups and both sexes.

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