Lassa fever: 50 under watch in Anambra

•Benue, NCDC probe ‘strange disease’

AT least 50 persons are under close watch for Lassa fever in Anambra State, the government said on Tuesday.

It said the only confirmed case was a 25-year-old Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) student, who is receiving treatment at the Virology Centre in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.

Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, said the 50 were those who had contact with the patient in the preceding three weeks in her hometown and university.

“All the contacts are being examined and watched closely by experts. This is in conformity with globally established protocol in treating Lassa fever,” he said.

He said the government has set up two special centres at the Onitsha General Hospital and at the General Hospital at Umueri to manage any Lassa fever case.

The state urged residents to wash hands regularly with soap and to use sanitizer.

Also yesterday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said the National Rapid Response Team is supporting the Benue State Ministry of Health to investigate a strange disease in Oye Obi, Obi Local Government Area.

NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that results from tests did not show Lassa fever.

The senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Abba Moro, claimed that 15 persons died from the strange disease while 104 were hospitalised.

According to Ihekweazu, the last known death from the affected area was reported on February 7.

He said: “We are closely monitoring those who have contracted the disease. We tested for Lassa fever and Yellow fever and the results were negative. So, we are waiting for the final results.”

A medical researcher, Prof Rosemary Audu, said a 2018 study revealed that no fewer than 40 per cent of people earlier treated for Lassa fever still excreted the virus.

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