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Lassa Fever Spreads at Kaduna Army Hospital – NCDC Confirms Outbreak

By Faridat Salifu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has officially confirmed the outbreak of Lassa Fever at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna, resulting in the tragic loss of three staff members.

In a press briefing held in Abuja recently,Dr Jide Idris, the Director General of NCDC, disclosed that the agency is actively monitoring the situation and collaborating closely with state health authorities to contain the spread of the disease.

Idris stated, “The NCDC was informed by the Kaduna State Ministry of Health about the deaths from suspected viral hemorrhagic fever at the hospital.

We are working in coordination with both institutions to thoroughly investigate the suspected cases and implement responsive measures.”

Following tests conducted at the Bayero University Teaching Hospital in Kano, four out of the six blood samples from suspected cases have tested positive for Lassa Fever.

In response, 25 close contacts have been identified and are currently receiving preventive treatment as a precautionary measure.

The state’s Ministry of Health has activated the Incident Management System to facilitate a comprehensive approach to managing the outbreak, including enhancing risk communication and community engagement efforts.

Rapid response teams have been deployed to affected areas in Kaduna State to conduct thorough epidemiological investigations and enforce necessary control measures.

Idris highlighted the importance of early detection, prompt treatment, and community involvement in containing the spread of the disease.

Lassa Fever, caused by the Lassa virus transmitted through contact with rodent excreta or contaminated items, is endemic in Nigeria, often surfacing during the dry season.

Idris urged healthcare workers and the public to adhere to strict hygiene practices, such as proper food handling and waste disposal, to minimize the risk of Lassa Fever transmission.

He advised individuals experiencing symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle pains to promptly seek medical attention as early diagnosis and treatment significantly impact outcomes.

As of December 2023, Nigeria has recorded 4,540 Lassa Fever cases and 875 fatalities. The NCDC continues to work diligently to contain the current outbreak and prevent further spread of the disease.

 

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