Lassa fever death toll hits 31 in 15 states

Death toll from the current outbreak of Lassa fever in 15 states has risen to 31, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said.
Over 105 laboratory confirmed cases and three probable cases have also occurred in the affected states.
Last week, the National Commission for Disease Control (NCDC) had said that there 21 deaths from 77 cases in the country.
At the Emergency National Council of Health meeting in Abuja on Monday, the minister said that in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 77 cases of Lassa fever.
According to him, the cases were in Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states.
Adewole said that 10 healthcare workers were affected in four states; seven in Ebonyi with one health worker from Nasarawa , Kogi and Benue states.
The minister said that of the 31 deaths from Lassa fever outbreak, four health workers died as a result of the disease; three deaths were recorded in Ebonyi and one in Kogi.
He said that the meeting was summoned to discuss the state of public health challenges in Nigeria with focus on those that bedevilled the country in the past few weeks.
Adewole added that Lassa fever has been a recurring outbreak in the country, stressing that Nigeria has battled with series of outbreaks in the past few months.
The minister noted Nigeria dealt with Ebola in 2014, stressing that the country reacted strongly and the response was acknowledged by the international community.
a�?The success against Ebola created a situation whereby every other public health challenge in Nigeria to be a tea party. Therefore assume that Lassa fever and other challenges would be likened to malaria, that they were not serious,a��a�� he said.
The minister said that Nigeria had also dealt with the resurgence of polio, adding that the issuance of recertification will be tougher than it was before.
a�?The international community will not come to Nigeriaa��s rescue or certify the country polio free until everyone is sure that Nigeria is polio free, and that is another health challenge,a��a�� Adewole said.
Adewole said in 2017, Nigeria had to contend with the outbreak of cholera from Kwara, Lagos, Kano and Borno states, adding that the disease is preventable with the availability of water and good hygiene.
The minister said first confirmed case of yellow fever happened in 2017, 17 years after the last case in the country.
Adewole said Nigeria has to deal with cases of monkey pox, stressing that it causes a lot of anxiety in the country which led to the death of three people.
He said the cases were prevalent in the South-South with Bayelsa, Rivers and Cross Rivers as the focal point of the disease.
The minister said that government was able to build diagnostic capacity to diagnose monkey pox in Nigeria.
Besides, Adewole said Nigeria had dealt with meningitis in 2017, adding the problem of meningitis is poor notification and inability to make diagnosis on time.
He said Lassa fever has been persistent in the country over the past 30 years.
The minister, therefore, appealed to the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and other research institutes to look into the changing dynamics of Lassa fever.

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