Lassa fever: Kwara govt, group disagree over deaths
The Kwara State Chairman, Medical Outreach, National Association of Seadogs, Mr. Tunde Dairo, has said three people died in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State as a result of the current outbreak of Lassa Fever.
He added that 11 people had also died nationwide.
He spoke to journalists on Saturday during the group's Lassa fever sensitisation in Ilorin, Kwara.
He called on organisations and individuals to partner the government to address the disease. He added that the group went to many streets and markets, and created awareness about the disease, its control and preventive measures.
He called on people to maintain good hygiene to drive away rodents, which he noted were the primary carriers of the disease.
Dairo said, "The essence of the campaign is to create awareness on Lassa fever in the state because we have been hearing cases of it even though it is not in a place. We decided to enlighten the public that good hygiene would help us manage the disease.
"The statistics of death from Lassa fever is three in Ifelodun LGA of Kwara and 11 in Nigeria. Blood specimen was sent to the virology laboratory in Oshodi, Lagos, confirming two cases at Babani village in Agunjin district and a case at Oro-Ago, all in Ifelodun LGA about a month ago. They all tested positive to Lassa fever and have all died. There is no case yet in Ilorin. But we feel compelled to nip it in the bud before it spreads all over.
"The preventive method is that people should avoid contact with rodents, which is the primary source of infection. When caring for infected people, they should wear protective clothing because they can easily contact it through droppings and body fluids. We need to sensitise the public on how to keep rodents from their houses.
"The government is doing its best. The government cannot do it all. The masses should be actively involved."
But the Kwara State Government denied any death resulting from Lassa fever.
The state Commissioner for Health, Mr. Sulaiman Alege, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the boy who the state government reported had been diagnosed with the disease in the state was still alive.
He added that 94 people had been quarantined in Babanla, Ifelodun LGA, including the parents of the boy and other people that had contact with the 10-year-old.
Alege, while commending the sensitisation efforts of the group, said the state Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Federal Ministry of Health are the only appropriate authorities to declare the mortality rate of any disease.