The federal government has confirmed the spread of the Lassa Fever virus disease across 17 states in Nigeria.
Speaking at an emergency national council of health meeting in Abuja, on Tuesday, January 19, the minister of health, Prof. Issac Adewole warned against“conspiracy of silence” among states in the country.
Minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole and the minister of state for health, Dr Osagie E. Ehanire
Describing the outbreak as a “national embarrassment,” Adewole debunked rumours in some quarters that the disease was a “gimmick to get money from the government.”
He said: “I want to tell all Nigerians that the Lassa fever disease is real because there is a lot of denial in the country.
“Presently, the virus has spread to 17 states, affected 62 local government areas and 212 suspected cases within 9 weeks in Nigeria”
“I want to warn against the conspiracy of silence by in some states. This is because we recorded five unreported cases of Lassa fever and one death in Ebonyi state. Even the state governor got angry.”
“Healthcare managers should not deceive their political leaders that all is well. All states should consider themselves at risk,” he added.
He advised health practitioners on the need to maintain good professional practice with reference to the case in Rivers state where a healthcare provider was infected.
States affected include Niger, Bauchi, Kano, Edo, Nassarawa, Borno, Delta, Oyo, Taraba, Plateau, Ondo, Ebonyi, Ogun, Rivers, Ogun, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Meanwhile, in order to forestall the outbreak of Lassa fever in Lagos, theEnvironmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Lagos chapter, on Thursday, January 14, stated that there are plans to rid markets of rodents.
In a related development, the Benue state government had directed people in the state to desist from eating rats for the meantime.
This directive was given by Governor Samuel Ortom at Aso Villa shortly after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.