Oyo confirms Lassa fever outbreak

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Ibadan | 25 October 2014 | 3,100 times

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The Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, has confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state but assured that the State Government is making efforts to curtail its further spread.

Mr. Gbadegesin, who spoke during a press briefing at the State Secretariat in Ibadan, said that the government is aware of 10 cases of Lassa fever, adding that three of the cases were brought into the state from another state.

“We are already working to bring it under control. We are doing the best to curtail it. We have what it takes to manage it very well. I only want to appeal to our people to be very hygienic and when they feel that something is wrong with our system, we should go to the hospital for proper diagnosis of their sickness and treatment,” the commissioner said.

In a related development, the Head of Virology Department, University Teaching Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Olaleye, has dispelled the idea that Lassa fever is contracted from black domestic rats.

According to him, “most of these black rats in our houses don’t have this virus. Most of the rats with this virus are from the bush, and farmers who, in the process of making cassava flour, cut their cassava and spread them on the road.”

Explaining further, Prof. Olaleye said that “when these rats see cassava, they go there to eat from them and, in the process, they pee on them. Through this, they transfer the virus on the cassava. And anybody that eats out of the casssava flour made from such cassava might have the fever.”

Substantiating the cases reported at UCH during the outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria, he said: “Some patients that came to UCH thinking that they had Ebola were later diagnosed of Lassa fever. Lassa fever has drug. It can be treated if promptly reported.”

•Photo shows Governor Isiaka Ajimobi of Oyo State.

Source: News Express

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