The Edo State government has raised the alarm over the rising cases of Lassa fever in the state, saying that 18 new cases of the viral infection were recorded in the last one week.
Akoria Obehi, commissioner for health, disclosed to journalists on Monday that the figure has raised the total number of persons who are currently on admission in the state to 23.
Obehi said the infected persons, including 17 adults and six children, are currently receiving care at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), in Esan Central Local Government Area.
The commissioner, while lamenting the unprecedented rise in the number of infections, called for the support and collaboration of every Edo resident to control and eliminate Lassa fever in the state.
“Edo State, over the past one week, has recorded 18 new cases of Lassa fever, bringing the cases of Lassa fever patients currently on admission in the state to 23. The 23 patients, including 17 adults and six children are currently receiving care at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital,” Obehi said.
She listed the local government areas in the state most affected by the disease to include Esan West, Etsako West, Esan North East, Esan Central, Etsako Central, Esan South East and Etsako East.
Speaking on the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the disease and protect Edo citizens, she noted: “The Emergency Operation Centre for Lassa fever has been activated in Edo State on the 5th of January and they have had three meetings. The various pillars of the Emergency Operation Centre have been activated.
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“The Infection, Prevention and Control pillars are currently working on contacting the Diseases Notification and Surveillance Officers in the various local government areas to beef up infection control. We have stepped up communication with messages being developed and disseminated to sensitize people in their local languages.
“We will also be meeting with local council stakeholders today in Edo Central. We will be meeting with the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) of the seven affected LGAs, as well as the market women, Enogies, and the healthcare practitioners in the LGAs, among other stakeholders,” she said.
She urged residents to adhere to the preventive measures namely frequent handwashing, avoid contact with rat urine or feces; avoid consuming contaminated food or water and to seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms of Lassa fever, such as fever, headache, muscle pain, and weakness.