Lassa fever has reportedly killed 50 people in Ondo state, leaving residents and medical practitioners worried.
Sources at the Federal Medical Center, FMC, Owo, revealed that the state government is not doing enough to curb the spread of the disease.
A medical practitioner at the health facility revealed that the situation is almost beyond control adding that they have run out of space at the isolation ward where these patients are being treated.
Pleading anonymity, the source also revealed how a Lassa Fever patient “mysteriously” disappeared from the hospital.
She blamed the incident on the negligence of some of her colleagues.
“What we currently facing, is quite beyond what anyone would ever imagine.
“Almost all the patients in the isolation ward are those that have contracted Lassa fever and most of the reported cases are from the border communities within Ose Local Government area of the state.
“It’s quite sad how the state government is not even attending to the situation.
“Citizens are dying from preventable disease, but the government is not showing
any concern at all.”
The Nation reports that the State Commissioner Of Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, insisted on the fact it would take the combined effort of stakeholders to fight the disease as the state would be unable to handle the situation on its own.
Though first described in the 1950s, the virus causing Lassa disease was not identified until 1969. The virus is a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the virus family Arenaviridae.
About 80% of people who become infected with Lassa virus have no symptoms. 1 in 5 infections result in severe disease, where the virus affects several organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.
Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease, meaning that humans become infected from contact with infected animals. The animal reservoir, or host, of Lassa virus is a rodent of the genus Mastomys, commonly known as the “multimammate rat.” Mastomys rats infected with Lassa virus do not become ill, but they can shed the virus in their urine and faeces.
Because the clinical course of the disease is so variable, detection of the disease in affected patients has been difficult. When presence of the disease is confirmed in a community, however, prompt isolation of affected patients, good infection prevention and control practices, and rigorous contact tracing can stop outbreaks.
Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin (where it was diagnosed for the first time in November 2014), Ghana (diagnosed for the first time in October 2011),
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