BSPHCDA Records 22 Lassa Fever Deaths, 678 Cases
According to the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), it has been confirmed that 22 people have been killed by Lassa fever in the state within the first 12 weeks of 2023.
The Deputy Director, Disease Control and Immunization of the agency, Haruna B. Wakili revealed on Thursday during a one-day Advocacy Engagement meeting with Traditional and Religious leaders on the prevention of infectious diseases, organized by the Women Development Association for Self Sustainance (WODASS) in collaboration with stakeholders in the WASH sector with support from WaterAid Nigeria, held at the Hazibal Hotel in Bauchi.
While giving the situation of the Lassa fever in the state during the first quarter from January to March 2023, he said that within the period, a total of 678 suspected cases were recorded with 95 confirmed cases giving an alarming 23.2 fatality rate.
According to him, people most affected are between the ages of 20-29 who is regarded as the productive segment of society.
The highly affected local government areas in the state, he disclosed where cases were recorded include Tafawa Balewa, Kirfi, Bauchi, Dass, Alkaleri, and Ganjuwa, adding that Kirfi LGA recorded the highest number of cases.
According to him, Kanam LGA in Plateau state also has reported cases considering that it is sharing boundaries with a local government area of the state.
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He added that an update from the Isolation center for Lassa Fever showed that new cases were currently on admission on the first to the 7th week, showing that 18 persons are currently on admission.
However, he lamented that people are skeptical of reporting to health facilities for testing to ascertain their status whenever they displayed signs and symptoms of the disease.
Speaking also, the Assistant Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, Bauchi local government, Sirajo Shuaibu Sambo said that the mortality rate for Lassa Fever is high compared to COVID-19, adding that transmission from human to human is the fastest way of contacting the disease.
Most persons who exhibit the symptoms of the disease, he said do not suspect initially that they have contracted the disease until it has defied all treatment, stressing that only a test from a certified laboratory can detect the disease.
He however corrected the wrong perception by some persons who attribute the disease to witchcraft, stressing that early detection of the disease can save lives.
“When a person treats malaria, fever or any suspected illness and after medication, the person’s condition does not improve, he should immediately test for Lassa Fever.” He said.
According to him, “If a person is suspected to have Lassa Fever, do not administer any first aid treatment, first contact the hospital where he will be conveyed to the Lassa Fever Isolation and treatment center.”