Rivers Lassa fever update: Two dead, centre poised to contain outbreak


Lassa fever which was confirmed in Rivers State one week ago has taken two lives, it has been confirmed.


The Rivers State Ministry of Health has confirmed that two more persons have died as a result of Lassa fever infection. The two persons reportedly died on Sunday, January 26 and Monday, January 27, 2020, barely one week after one person died at the Specialist Hospital in Irrua, Edo State, according to Punch reports.

Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the Director, Planning and Statistics, State Ministry of Health, Dr. Chinwe Atata, said the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre had since been making efforts towards containing the outbreak of the disease.

Atata pointed out that health experts had also been carrying out decontamination of facilities, presumptive prophylaxis and surveillance to ensure public health safety.

She said, “There was a case. It happened in the night and the person passed away. The sample was sent to Irrua and that is one of the positive cases. Two samples were sent from here and one sample was the Irrua case, which was positive and they are all late [dead].

“But there is no spread as of now. The 57 persons are still under surveillance; they are going through the routine procedure, and decontamination of the facilities has been done.

“The families of the late persons are also under surveillance. The drugs are available and we have a lot of them that have been procured by the Rivers State Government.

“We also have some that were also sent from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. We have a holding centre being prepared.

“You will recall that a few days ago, I briefed you on a number of suspected cases that were being investigated in the state. We have received preliminary confirmation that three of the samples tested positive to Lassa virus.

“The Rivers State Public Health Emergency Operation Centre had earlier commenced pro-active effort for containment of the outbreak. So far, all hands are on deck for facility decontamination, line-listing, presumptive prophylaxis and surveillance to ensure Public health safety and security.

“In addition, the state has procured large quantities of anti-viral agents, isolation centres have been designated and are being set up across the teaching hospitals in case of any eventuality.

“Rivers State Government is doing everything to contain the Lassa virus.”

She advised members of the public to continue all necessary preventive measures under the circumstances, restating that Lassa fever remains an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus.