Lassa fever has claimed the lives of two persons in Plateau, while two others are on admission, Dr. Fom Dakwak, the Commissioner for Health, has confirmed.
Dakwak told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Jos that the first victim, a woman, died at the Jos University Teaching Hospital, while the other, a man, died at the Vom Christian hospital.
“Two other persons are currently on admission at the Vom Christian Hospital and are responding to treatment,” he said.
According to him, the ministry has despatched epidemiologists to sensitise people in the COCIN Pastoral School, Kanke, where a student died of the disease sometime ago.
He said that two other victims of the disease in Kanke area were currently on admission.
The commissioner disclosed that epidemiologists conducting a sensitisation workshop at the school were focusing on the steps that should be taken to contain the spread of the disease.
“The epidemiology unit is also sensitising the medical and health personnel in the area to the symptoms of the diseases because we have noticed that some young medical and health personnel are not aware of its symptoms.
“Once the symptoms are detected early, there is a high possibility of treatment and survival,” he said.
He stated that the Lassa virus was usually transmitted when the saliva, urine and excreta of the multi-mammalian rats come in contact with humans either through their food or water.
As the commissioner explained, Lassa fever comes with bleeding which is why it is usually referred to as haemorrhagic fever associated with bleeding through the nose, gums and urine.
“Asides bleeding, people should watch out for the general symptoms of ill-health like headaches and fever,” he said, adding, however, that the disease had similar symptoms with malaria.
“The symptoms could also vary, but we always use proper test to ensure that the patient is adequately treated,” he said.
He advised people to always cover their food and water properly, and also pay attention to clean surroundings.
“People should also ensure that they have clean and less clustered surroundings so as to keep the rats away.
“Also, before taking a bottle of soft drinks, people must wash the surface of the can; very often, such cans get dirty or stained due to long period of storage,” he added.