Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 January 2013

Nigeria: FG Moves to Stop Lassa Fever in Benue

Makurdi — The Federal Ministry of Health has donated 4,500 doses of both Ribavirin and Virazole tablets including intravenous drugs to the Benue State government to control the spread of Lassa fever in the state.

This followed the outbreak of Lassa fever which claimed three lives including that of a medical doctor last week at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital in Makurdi.

State Director of Public Health, Dr. Joseph Kumba, said at the weekend that the Federal Ministry of Health has also dispatched a team of four experts to the state towards containing further spread of the highly contagious disease.

He confirmed to journalists that the blood samples obtained from the victims and subjected to laboratory test at the Specialist Hospital, Irua in Edo State have revealed the outbreak of Lassa fever in Benue and as such, it is no longer a matter of suspicion.

"Blood sample of one of the victims was taken to the Federal Government Lassa Fever laboratory at the Federal Medical Centre, Irua in Edo State and it has been confirmed that they had Lassa fever."

"We are also pleased to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Health has dispatched a team of four to the state to help us contain the epidemic immediately because it is highly contagious and that is why even if we have just a victim we refer to it as an epidemic," Kumba stated.

Also speaking, the state's Epidemiologist Dr. Terner Kur allayed the fears of health workers in the state, saying adequate measures have been taken to protect them from infections.

He added that anyone with symptoms such as persistent fever, headache, body pains, facial eudemon, convulsion and renal failure should contact the hospitals immediately and urged people to cover their food properly and rid their environment of rodents.

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