Akure, Lokoja and Awka — Five persons were yesterday confirmed dead from the deadly Lassa fever disease that hit Ondo and Kogi States. While five persons died in Ondo State, Kogi State recorded the loss of one life. Nineteen others have been hospitalised as a result of the infection that hit four local government areas in the state. The state Commissioner for Information and Oriientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, who confirmed this, listed the local government areas as Owo, Akoko South-west, Akure North and Akure South.
He, however, said government had strengthened its medical apparatuses in all its specialist hospitals to contain the spread of the disease. Olowolabi hinted that the isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo had also been reinforced to take adequate care of patients as part of efforts to check the spread of the disease. Olowolabi stated that government was embarking on sensitisation of the public on unhygienic habits that could aid the spread of the disease. In Kogi State, a medical doctor, Dr. Idowu Ahmed Victor, who was diagnosed of the disease last Friday at Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja, died on Sunday at the Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo State. The late doctor who hailed from Kogi Central senatorial district of the state, was said to have contracted the disease last Friday at the FMC Lokoja but died at about 6p.m. on Sunday. Until his death, Victor was newly employed as a House Officer at the FMC. He was said to have contracted the disease from a seven-month-old baby who also died last week Friday at the FMC in Lokoja. Confirming the passing of the doctor to journalists yesterday, the Kogi State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Godwin Tijani, described the deceased as a man who was committed to his job. Tijani said: “The NMA in Kogi State is sorry to announce the death of Dr. Idowu Ahmed Victor, who was a House officer at FMC Lokoja. “He was infected with the Lassa virus as confirmed at Irrua Specialist Hospital. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.”. The chairman advised healthcare practitioners in the state to always observe safety precautions whenever attending to patients. He also advised the public to store food items, especially grains, garri and powdered food in air-tight containers. “The public should endeavour to quickly report any case of high grade fever not responding to anti-malarial treatment to the nearest hospital, so that quick diagnosis and treatment can be instituted. Tijani who described Lassa fever as a zoonotic disease, spread by rats, stressed that personal hygiene or any measure taken to get rid of rats would help in containing the disease. “Its symptoms include high grade fever, joints and general body pains, malaise, bleeding from body orifices a Meanwhile, the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has said the federal government is not doing enough to contain the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the country. The group in a communiqué released after its national executive council (NEC) meeting which held in Awka called on the federal and state government agencies involved to step up action to contain the disease. The National President of the MDCAN, Prof Ngim Ngim, who read out the resolutions of the association to journalists Sunday evening, said the association was willing to partner government agencies to address the challenge. The group commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the outbreak, calling on them to institute measures to eradicate the rodents responsible for the transmission of the deadly virus. “Members of the public are called upon to institute measures to eradicate the rodents responsible for the transmission of the deadly virus. “Doctors are also reminded on the need to always observe universal precaution while attending to patients. These include the use of personal protective devices. Hospitals are advised to make these available at all times to safeguard the lives of medical personnel and other health workers.”