NIGERIA: LASSA FEVER KILLS 8+ PEOPLE IN KANO
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in west Africa. The illness was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Nigeria. The virus is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is zoonotic in nature.
Lassa fever is endemic in parts of west Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria; however, other neighboring countries are also at risk, Between August 2015 and 17 May 2016, WHO has been notified of 273 cases of Lassa fever, including 149 deaths in Nigeria. Of these, 165 cases and 89 deaths have been confirmed through laboratory testing. The cases were reported from 23 states in Nigeria.
Recently, the district Head of Tudun Wada, Tudun Wada local government area of Kano state, Alhaji Bashir Ibrahim Mohammed has said about eight people or more have lost their lives to Lassa fever in the past few days. The District Head who briefed the Emir of Kano,Alhaji Muhammadu Sunusi II disclosed that the incident occurred at Taka Lafiya village of Tudun Wada local government area, about 90 kilometres away from the metropolis.
Similarly, the State Commissioner of Health, Dr Kabiru Ibrahim Getso confirmed the incident but offered no details on casualty figures. He explained that “two cases of lassa fever were also confirmed in Tudun Wada local government area of Kano and we intensified efforts to curtail the situation”.
In addition, the Commissioner of Health revealed that the state government has released the sum of N19 million to start an emergency response to eradicate the diseases including meningitis as well as other communicable diseases. He further stated that the state has reactivated the Rapid response team to respond to cases and procured drugs and other consumables for the Rapid response.
However, since August 2015, ten health care workers (HCW) have been infected with Lassa fever virus, of which two have died. Of these ten cases, four were nosocomial infections. Also, as of May 2016, 8 states are currently reporting Lassa fever cases in Nigeria. Currently, 248 contacts are being followed up in the country.
The commissioner of health therefore appealed to citizens to play safe by immediately reporting cases of intense headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and neck stiffness to the nearest clinics in order to reduce the spread of Lassa fever across the village in the Tudun-Wada Local Government area of the state.
District Head of Tudun-Wada Local Government Alhaji Bashir Ibrahim Mohammed further explained,
“Three people whose condition was critical at that time were rushed to ‘Yar-Gaya Infectious Disease Isolation Center for further investigation,”
“One of them later died in the hospital, taking the total number of casualties to five. Two other patients died again and the last victim died yesterday, bringing the total of death to eight,” he added.
Consequently, the Emir of Kano responded by advising the people to improve on their personal hygiene, and urging the state government to work quickly to curb the spread of the disease. The state government has started work already in order to ensure healthy atmosphere for the people in Kano state.