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5 dead from Lassa Fever break out in Benue

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Lassa Fever

The death of five persons have been confirmed in Benue State from the outbreak of Lassa fever.

This was confirmed by the Program Officer, Risk Communication Desk, National Centre for Disease Control, Mrs Hanatu Bello who spoke to journalists in Makurdi, the state capital on Friday.

According to her, there were reports of 21 suspected cases of Lassa fever from the state out of which eight cases were confirmed while five infected persons have also died.

“Since the beginning of the year, there have been 21 suspected cases of Lassa fever in Benue State. Eight cases were confirmed after laboratory tests and five deaths have so far been recorded.”

Mrs Bello further added that the Centre received the information late as most patients who presented the symptoms got to the hospital rather late, adding that as soon as the information was received, the rapid response unit of the centre swung into action to nip the situation in the bud.

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“Lassa fever, though preventable, must be treated early. Lassa fever is caused by the body fluids of rats and once these body fluids contaminate our utensils, it can cause infection. Infected persons can also infect others and it only takes a few days to show signs and symptoms such as fever, sore throat, bloody diarrhoea, bleeding from the gums, bleeding into skin, eyes and urine,” she noted.

She, however, urged the general public to be proactive by observing both personal and environmental hygiene especially washing their hands.

“We must encourage people to wash their hands properly by observing the five steps of handwashing. Hand washing mush be with running water and not static water before cooking, after the use of toilet and while attending to sick people, before and after attending to cuts or wounds.

“We must discourage people from keeping trash in their house and we must constantly keep our surroundings clean and we must keep our trash bins covered so that they don’t attract rodents. We must also block rat holes in our house. Raw foodstuffs should also be properly covered,” she said.

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