Lassa Fever: FG Appeals For Calm


AS Nigerians worry over continued spread of Lassa fever, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said though the disease is endemic in the country, the Federal government has put in place measures that would eventually sign off the virus.

Meanwhile, the Gombe State Ministry of Health has confirmed a case of Lassa fever at Lambam village in Yamaltu/Debe Local Government Area of the state. In Port Harcourt Rivers State, Total Exploration and Production Nigeria limited flagged-off an awareness campaign in a move to stem spread of the disease, even as Kogi State Government upped surveillance.

According to Gombe State Director of Public Health Care, Dr. Joshua Abubakar, seven suspected cases were recorded from January 8, and blood samples were sent to the laboratory in Lagos. Of the samples, that of an eight-year-old girl tested positive.

Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited flagged-off its campaign in Nkoro community in Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The Deputy General Manager, Community Affairs Total E&P, Izu Iduoku, while declaring the event open in Nkoro town, said Lassa fever has assumed endemic proportion in the state and beyond, hence the importance of the awareness programme.

Rivers State has recorded three deaths: a mother and child, and a doctor with the state’s Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital. About 70 persons have also been placed on surveillance.

The DMG, who was represented by the Community Affairs Service Manager, Mr. Obara, said: “This Lassa fever sensitisation was planned for our host communities, as response to the findings and recommendations of the proactive baseline survey we commissioned in 2015, to establish disease trends and conditions with our host communities.”

In his response, the representative of Opobo/Nkoro Council of Chiefs, Chief Rogers Ibibo, thanked the Total E&P team for choosing the community for the campaign, urging participants to take advantage of the programme and be proactive.

The Kogi State Government has also increased surveillance against any possible incidence of the fever. The outgoing Commissioner of Health Dr. Idris Omede, who spoke with The Guardian in Lokoja, said, so far, the state has not recorded any incidence, though there was a rumoured case, which turned out to be negative upon investigation.

He said the state government, in partnership with the Federal Medical Center in Lokoja, has taken measures against the disease. “There is a good relationship between us and the Federal Medical Center. The media has been very proactive, acting as a bridge in creating more awareness,” he said.