Lassa fever kills four in Plateau state

The Commissioner for Health in Plateau State, Dr. Kunden Deyin, has disclosed that the state recorded four deaths, while laboratory tests confirmed five cases of Lassa fever since December 2016, saying that 80 per cent of the mortality was due to late presentation of patients to health care facilities. Deyin has said that the mortality rate is as high as 80 per cent; the reason is that people are reporting very late, Lassa fever is best managed when patients start taking the drug within the first week of contracting the disease. “The symptoms are similar to that of malaria such as nausea, body weakness and joint pains; it is at the advanced stage that symptoms such as bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or private parts occur.” The Commissioner, who said that getting the drug for the management of Lassa fever was difficult as it was not readily sold in the open market, added that the state was trying to access the drugs from the Federal Ministry of Health. Deyin has said that the state ministry of health had, however, alerted healthcare workers in the state to be on alert and to have “high index of suspicion.” He has explained that such suspicion meant that when a patient had symptoms of malaria and was treated for it and was still not getting better, further investigation should be carried out to ascertain if was Lassa fever.
The commissioner has noted that the ministry had commenced sensitization in Jos-Bukuru metropolis and in the 17 local government areas of the state to enlighten the people on how to prevent the disease. “Lassa fever is transmitted through the urine and excreta of rats which serve as reservoir for the Lassa virus and the rodent is usually attracted to dirty environment

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