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19 Mar 2020

Two doctors, 159 others die of Lassa fever

No fewer than 16 persons, including two doctors, were said to have died of Lassa fever in Bauchi State this year.

The Bauchi State Surveillance Support Officer, Dr. Suleiman Lawal, addressing reporters yesterday at the Lassa fever camp at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), said that 43 confirmed cases had also been recorded in the state since January.

He said one of the doctors died at the ATBUTH, while the other one died at a private clinic in the state.


Lawal said: “Totally, we have seven health workers that were affected. One of the doctors who was pregnant and had the disease, we managed her and discharged her. Four others are on admission, we’ve been managing them. They are now stable. In fact, we will discharge two of them today because they have finished their 10-day treatment period.

“Most of the deaths are as a result of late reporting and that is not our fault. Something will happen and people will not report in time. So we are appealing to people to always come in time.”

Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammad said yesterday that his administration would establish isolation centres in three hospitals to manage persons infected with Lassa fever.

He spoke in Bauchi when officials from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited him.

“We are delighted to receive you today at the Government House to condole with us over the outbreak of Lassa fever that resulted in the death of a district head and others.

“We are aware of the measures taken by the NCDC to stop the spread of the disease, not only in Bauchi State, but also across the country and we will give you our support to achieve the objectives,” he said.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Alhaji Baba Tela, said that the government had taken proactive measures against the spread of the disease by setting up an emergency outbreak basket fund.

NCDC Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said the visit was to condole with the government and people of the state over the death of one of the district heads and others as a result of contracting Lassa fever.

Ihekweazu, represented by Alhaji Yakubu Abdullahi, the director, Administration and Human Resources, said that there was the need for the government to embark on a massive awareness campaign to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said that the Lassa fever death toll had increased to 161.

The House of Representatives yesterday urged the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health to equip the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi.

According to the lawmakers, the centre should be equipped with purpose built structures and adequate facilities to ensure the safe management of the centre.

The committees on Health Care Services, Health Institutions and Health Institutions directed the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health to interface with the Chief Medical Director of ATBUTH on ways to ensure efficient management of the centre after it had been equipped.

When Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila called for a voice vote, it was passed without dissent.

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