The Federal Government has announced the outbreak of Lassa fever in the Kubwa area of the Federal Capital Territory, with the death of the patient at the National Hospital Abuja.
The latest death from Lassa fever brings the total number of deaths to 43 in the country from 10 states.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has visited National Hospital where he called on health workers at all levels “to be more vigilant and look out for patients with symptoms of Lassa fever.”
A statement on Wednesday night by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Boade Akinola, said Adewole directed that “all primary and secondary contacts of the victim should be tracked.
These include the staff of the private hospital in Kubwa where the deceased was first managed for one week, until he became unconscious, before referral to the National Hospital.
He also advised that family members should report at the nearest hospital if anyone has fever for more than two days
The Minister, however, called on the residents of Abuja not to panic but to “maintain high-level vigilance and present themselves for a test if they feel unhealthy or they feel symptoms of Lassa fever”, which includes high fever, stooling, tiredness and vomiting adding that self-medication should be avoided at this period.
The Medical Director of the National Hospital, Dr. Jafaru Momoh, who briefed the Minister during his visit, said that the patient was brought in unconscious from a private hospital in Kubwa where he was admitted for eight days.
The newly married 33- year-old lived in Jos, but came to see a family member in Kubwa because of his illness.
Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness, with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa fever virus with an incubation period of six-21 days.
About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic. The remaining cases have a severe multi-system disease, where the virus affects several organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.
The onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by a headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract, and low blood pressure.
The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multimammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas.
The Federal had earmarked the sum of N140m as funds to tackle the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.