Three people have been reportedly killed by Lassa fever in Taraba State following the outbreak of the disease in the state.
Besides, three other persons who tested positive to the killer disease have been placed under close monitoring as the total number of cases reported in the state rose to 12.
This is coming just as the Chief Epidemiologist of the state, Dr. Udi Aketemo, warned indigenes and residents of the state against eating rat which is a common delicacy in the state.
The Surveillance Officer of World Health Organisation (WHO) in the state, Dr. Bello Ahmed, who disclosed this yesterday in Jalingo at a sensitisation workshop on Lassa fever organised by the state ministry of health, stated that two people died in Jalingo Local Government Area while the third casualty was recorded at Ardo Kola Local Government Area.
He further revealed that six local government councils in the state namely; Bali, Gashaka, Gassol, Ibi and Jalingo as well as Ardo Kola have been placed on red alert due to the outbreak of the disease in the councils.
Ahmed, who was represented at the occasion by Dr. Zero Philip, noted that the infection rate in the state is now put at 25 per cent which he described as being very high based on the survey conducted across the country between January 1 and 28 among 367 contacts identified across the country.
To combat the scourge, he stated that WHO is collaborating with the federal government to develop a test kit for rapid diagnosis and reduce pressure on the diagnosis centre at Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State.
According to him, “We are planning a collaboration with the federal government to develop a test kit for rapid diagnosis to complement the diagnosis centre at Irrua Specialist Hospital.
“We want to call on the federal government to consider the establishment of at least one diagnostic and treatment centre in each of the zones across the country to effectively tackle the spread of the disease.”
Besides cautioning the people of the state against eating rats, Aketemo equally advised residents to maintain good hygienic practices, eat only well processed foods and adhere strictly to universal best health practices to avoid contacting the deadly disease.
Also speaking at the occasion, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai, said the workshop was part of the state government efforts at creating awareness to mitigate the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, determined to curb the spread of Lassa Fever in Ondo State, the state government has directed that henceforth, all cases of ‘sudden death’ must be brought to the notice of health officials at local governments.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, the directive at a meeting held with caretaker chairmen, state health officials and primary healthcare coordinators in the 18 council areas.
The meeting was held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the governor’s office in Akure.
Adegbenro said burial for all sudden deaths must henceforth be supervised by medical experts to prevent possible spread of Lassa fever that has so far claimed six lives with 27 recorded cases.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lola Fagbemi, said funds would be released for advocacy and awareness campaign to end Lassa fever in the state.