The Federal Medical Centre in Owo, Ondo State, is said to have run out of bed spaces to accommodate victims of the Lassa fever outbreak in the state.
Investigation carried out by SaharaReporters showed that the disease which has been ravaging the state for almost two weeks, has found its way into Akure, the state capital.
Although the outbreak had been reported in border cities of the northern senatorial district of the state, such as Edo and Kogi, sources at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo area told our correspondent that many victims are hospitalised in the centre.
One of the sources, who preferred not to be named, revealed that the current situation at FMC was getting out of control, adding that isolation wards of the hospital could no longer contain the patients due to lack of bed spaces to quarantine them.
"There is no bed space again for us to quarantine these set of people in the FMC Owo. What we're currently facing is quite beyond what anyone would ever imagine. Patients kept inside the isolation ward are those that have contracted Lassa fever, and most of the reported cases are from the border communities within Ose Local Government area of the state,” the source told SaharaReporters.
Another source at the state Ministry of Health also confirmed that the current situation in Ondo State was “very terrible”, and called for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state.
"Apart from declaring the state of emergency in the health sector, all the schools within these affected communities should be shut down. We also expect the government too to begin an awareness campaign by taking it to market places, streets, churches, mosques and other public places,” he said.
Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, had said at a fora that the state should prepare for war against Lassa fever.
He said about 27 states were affected with Lassa fever last year and Ondo and Edo topped the list as they accounted for about 80 per cent of those affected.
Meanwhile, as parts of efforts to curb the Lassa fever outbreak, the government on Sunday activated the Emergency Response Committee on Lassa fever.
Sahara Reporters gathered that the Committee is chaired by Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, and Mrs. Bola Akinyanmi as the secretary. The Committee has been charged with the mandate to ensure that Lassa fever is flushed out of the state within the shortest time. It is also saddled with the mission of embarking on campaigns, advocacy visits to royal fathers and religious leaders in order to identify an appropriate dump site for human wastes.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ondo State has raised the alarm over the sudden outbreak of the Lassa fever in the state.
Reverend Ayo Oladapo, the state CAN Chairman, said about 80 cases had been recorded and confirmed.
In a statement sent to all heads of churches in the state, Oladapo urged Christians to be on the alert.
"I have just been informed through representatives of the government that there is an outbreak of Lassa Fever in the state (Ondo).
"About 80 cases have been confirmed. All our churches should please sensitize their members to cover their foods properly and eradicate the existence of rats in their vicinities. Announcements should be made on pulpits and in all our services. May God deliver us all from all deadly diseases in Jesus’ name.”