The Oyo State government has set up a surveillance system in all local government areas following an outbreak of Lassa fever in the Iwajowa area of the state.
According to the state’s commissioner for health, Dr. Bode Ladipo, in a statement released to Journalists on Monday, the outbreak occurred in a Fulani settlement called Gaa Agbaruru in Iwajowa and two deaths have been recorded so far.
The statement read in part: “The attention of the Ministry was drawn to reported cases of deaths at Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo State on Wednesday, 12th January, 2022. The deaths were said to have been associated with fever, gastrointestinal symptoms and some neck swelling.
“This warranted a high-level investigating team led by the Honourable Commissioner for Health to visit the LGA on Thursday, 13th January, 2022 to assess the situation and provide necessary support to abate any further transmission of the illness.
“The team was composed of senior officials of the Ministry, the State Primary Healthcare Board and the World Health Organization (WHO).
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“An initial visit to the State General Hospital at Iwere lle revealed the fact that there was an increase in the number of cases brought from the Gaa Agbaruru settlement with confirmation of two (2) deaths at the facility. The team was then led to Gaa Agbaruru, a Fulani settlement in Iwere ward of the LGA where the victims of the illness came from.
“It was observed that there were cases with symptoms mentioned above but were recuperating. It was also confirmed that there was indeed a high degree of contact between the inhabitants, rodents and bats. In addition, the challenge of having potable water was noted.
“Blood samples were taken from the recuperating individuals with samples of water also taken. These samples were sent to the National Reference Laboratory for Haemorrhagic Fever in Abuja for analysis and confirmation.
“The result of the investigation from the Reference Laboratory was received today, 17th January, 2022 with two (2) of the ten (10) samples testing positive for Lassa Fever.”
Dr. Ladipo however allayed the fears of residents of the state, disclosing that the government has already set up surveillance systems across LGAs in the state to curtail further spread of the virus.
He further explained that the Ministry of Health has repositioned doses of antiviral agents for treatment of the reported cases, adding that personal protective devices had been provided for health care providers at Iwere Ile and Iganna.
He, therefore, enjoined the general public to refer similar cases to nearest government hospitals for free and quality care.
By Oluwatobi Odeinka…
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