The Edo State government on Wednesday said it has recorded 29 deaths of the 225 confirmed cases of Lassa fever between January and September 2022 in the state.
Uwa Okhuarobo, Edo State epidemiologist, told BusinessDay in Benin City that the fatality rate stands at 13 percent, noting that measures are in place to sustain the infectious disease response against the viral infection for the coming season.
Okhuarobo equally said for monkeypox, another viral illness, 15 cases were confirmed, no death was recorded within the period and all persons who were diagnosed with the disease have recovered.
“We have recorded 225 confirmed cases of Lassa fever. Out of the figure, we lost 29 between January and September and that makes our Lassa fever fatality rate 13 percent. For monkeypox, we have 15 confirmed cases between January and September, we didn’t record any death and all confirmed cases have recovered.
“The 15 confirmed cases of monkeypox spread around five local governments which include Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba Okha, Uhunmwonde and Esan West.
“Our goal is to sustain the infection disease response because the peak of Lassa fever is between December and January and this has been the trend in the last five years. So, we are bringing stakeholders together to plan ahead for the coming season and strategically target public health intervention in the affected local government,” Okhuarobo said.
The state epidemiologist, who explained that 11 local governments are affected by Lassa fever, said four council areas, namely Etsako West, Esan West, Esan North East and Esan Central, have the highest burden of infection.
He further said that Governor Godwin Obaseki has given executive order to the authorities of the local governments that have high burden of lassa fever to ramp up control preventive measures so as to control the spread of the infectious disease.
“The governor wants to see that Lassa fever is kicked out of Edo state. So far, the local governments have taken ownership of responses to public health activities. We are approaching Lassa fever and monkeypox the same way, as both are zoonotic diseases which are transmitted from animals to humans,” he said
He, therefore, urged Edo residents to be cautious and adhere to the safety measures, including personal hygiene, handwashing and rat control