Following the outbreak of Lassa fever in Benue State last week in which three persons including a medical doctor were confirmed dead, the Federal Ministry of Health has released over 4,500 doses of both Ribavirin, Virazole tablets and intravenous drugs to the state government to check further spread of the deadly infection.
State Director of Public Health, Dr. Joseph Kumba, who made this disclosure at the weekend while fielding questions from journalists in his office, said in addition to the drugs, the Federal Ministry of Health also dispatched a team of four experts to the state to curtail the spread of the deadly disease as soon as possible.
Kumba explained that already, blood samples obtained from the victims, which was taken to the Special Federal Government Lassa Fever Laboratory at the Federal Medical Centre, Irua in Edo State had confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in Benue.
“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 experts 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 said.
The Director, Public Health said the over 2,500 Ribavirin and 2,000 Virazole tablets and intravenous drugs were for treatment and prevention of the disease among those, who were exposed to the victims especially at the trigger point.
Kumba, who addressed journalists in company with the state’s Epidemiologist, Dr. Terner Kur revealed that the state government had taken steps to protect health workers in the state from contracting the disease with the provision of protective gears for the workers.
He, however, advised the people of the state on the need to maintain environmental cleanliness and harped on the need for people to destroy rodents in their homes as well as cover their foodstuff well to guard against the disease.
Commenting, the state’s Epidemiologist, Dr. Kur listed some of the symptoms of Lassa Fever to include persistent fever, headache, body pain, facial eaudema, convulsion and renal failure urged anyone with such symptoms to immediately report to the appropriate quarters. He further advised people to get to the hospital as soon as they started having symptoms of fever and warned those who were in the habit of giving self medication to desist forthwith.