By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Federal Government on Monday disclosed that 195 confirmed cases and 29 deaths have been traced to the outbreak of Lassa fever.
The Minister of Environment Dr. Mohammed Abubakar disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja.
According to Abubakar, “the latest report from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) released on 25th January 2020 has it that 195 confirmed cases and 29
deaths have been recorded in 11 States of Nigeria namely: Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Delta, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Ogun, Abia, Kano and Enugu.
He attributed the spread of Lassa fever to poor sanitary hygiene practices.
He said with such increased, the ministry saw the need to sensitize the general public to have the knowledge of lassa fever outbreak in several parts of the country with reported cases of fatalities.
The minister revealed that out of the confirmed cases, 89% are from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi States.
“It is against this background that the Federal Ministry of Environment is organising lassa fever preventive and control measures to avert further outbreak and spread, as well as efforts being made by the Ministry in collaboration with NCDC and other stakeholders in tackling the lassa fever scourge.”
Consequently, he pointed out that Lassa fever virus is transmitted by rodents (rats) which can be found in our environment including homes, motor parks, offices and even places of worship . This contributes largely to the risk of spread that occurs in Nigeria and other countries with similar ecological factors.
Talking about preventative method, he said the Ministry is putting in place Environmental Health and sanitation surveillance system. This surveillance system will strengthen the cooperation between the State and Federal Government on Environmental Health and Sanitation issues.
“It will also help with information,data gathering and sharing between the Federal, State and Local Governments.The Ministry through Environmental Health Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) is also organizing capacity development programme on Entomology and Public Health Pest”,the minister emphasized.