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Lassa fever kills two in Plateau, Edo as experts canvass multiple approach

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Kano cautions parents, traditional rulers against resistance to polio vaccine
The Lassa fever outbreak in the country has killed two persons in Plateau and Edo with six new confirmed cases from Edo (four), Ondo (one) and Plateau (one).

Latest figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) indicated that from January 1 to June 24, 2018, no fewer than 2,042 suspected cases have been reported in 21 states.

Published on NCDC website, the report stated that of the 21 affected states, 18 have exited the active phase of the outbreak, while Edo, Ondo and Plateau states remain active.

The NCDC said 444 of the 2,042 cases were confirmed positive, 10 are probable, 1,588 negative and since the 2018 outbreak, there have been 111 deaths and 10 in probable cases with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in confirmed cases at 25.0 per cent.

It noted that 21 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 71 local councils in Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau and Lagos.

Others are Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, Gombe, Ekiti, Kaduna, Abia, Adamawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

In a related development, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) in Edo State, Professor Sylvanus Okogbenin, has canvassed the deployment of multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach for the control of Lassa fever in the country.

Okogbenin made the call at Irrua in his welcome address during the National Intensive Clinical workshop on Diagnosis and Management of Lassa Fever organised by the hospital in collaboration with the NCDC.

Speaking, Chief Executive Officer and National Coordinator of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said Lassa fever has become endemic in Nigeria pointing out that it will be here for some time.

Ihekweazu, who was represented by a laboratory scientist with the NCDC, Michael Popoola, said: “There is an increasing global health focus on Lassa fever and the work we do is at the centre.”

Meanwhile, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has vowed to forestall possible resistance against the successes recorded in polio immunisation in the state.

He gave the warning at weekend while meeting the state taskforce committee on Polio eradication at Government House, shortly before flagging off the second quarter routine polio immunisation, which commenced yesterday.

Ganduje, who cited government’s efforts that precipitated the 47 months of free polio immunisation, however, cautioned parents and traditional institutions to ensure full coverage of children during the exercise that would run between Sunday, July 1 and Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

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