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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Taraba State Government officially reports new cases of Lassa fever

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The Taraba State government on Tuesday confirmed new cases of the viral haemorrhagic fever (Lassa fever) at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jalingo.

The state commissioner for health, Gbangsheya Buma, said eight out of nine suspected cases that were tested last Friday came out positive.

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Speaking to Newslodgeon the telephone, Mr Buma said the state ministry of health was closely monitoring the situation and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and FMC Jalingo authorities to check the spread of the disease.

“It is not a surprising thing, this is the season and we have made preparations, though the outbreak may be overwhelming. I just received support from NCDC, they have sent some people here to provide technical support with the aim of stopping the progress of the disease,” he said.

“We are actually on top of it. We have provided support as a state to the FMC to provide free treatment to patients of Lassa fever

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“Eight of the nine blood samples from suspected cases collected from FMC Jalingo as of last Friday have been confirmed for Lassa fever,” Mr Buma said.

The acting head of clinical services, FMC Jalingo, Joseph Kuni, shed more light on the situation.

He said: “Presently as I am speaking to you, we have ten patients in our isolation ward, some of them their results are being awaited.”

Mr Kuni disclosed that from January to February the centre recorded 19 deaths from the isolation centre.

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“From January to February we sent 105 samples and 60 of them came out positive for Lassa while 39 came out negative. The remaining ones are still being awaited.

He said the centre cannot perform the test due to a fire outbreak that affected its modular laboratory last year. Therefore, they now send samples to either Bauchi or Abuja.

He also confirmed that one of the hospital staff, a medical doctor, was also affected but has since been treated and discharged.

Mr Kuni noted that the number this year is alarming compared to previous years, adding that is why the centre solicited support from the state government and NCDC and acted positively.

“This year the number of patients at the centre is on a higher side compared to previous seasons, that’s why it is challenging for us. In fact, we have written for more assistance from NCDC and the state government. Despite the fact that they have been doing well in assisting us, we are still soliciting them to do more considering the number of cases we have recorded.”

He said the majority of the cases were from the central part of the state.

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Mr Kuni said Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus, which is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

“The disease is endemic in Nigeria, with sporadic outbreaks occurring primarily during the dry season,” he said.

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