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Health minister Adewole Isaac

Ogun state records first death from Lassa fever

Health minister Adewole Isaac
Health minister Adewole Isaac
Ogun State has reported its first death from Lassa fever in the state as the worst outbreak of the disease in four years continues to take its toll on the nation.
The development comes as Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Sunday, maintained that deaths recorded in Nigeria from the virus remained 47.
Babatunde Ipaye, state health commissioner, said a 28-year-old patient died suddenly at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Hospital after nine days of treatment.
The patient has been buried in line with the guidelines of the World Health Organization and Nigerian National Protocol on Lassa control and management, Ipaye said, adding that none of the 121 primary contacts with the patient has presented fever or any other symptoms suggestive of Lassa.
Lassa fever is an acute and often fatal viral disease, occurring mainly in West Africa. It is usually transmitted by contact with the saliva or excreta of rats in homes and food stores.
The latest outbreak in November 2015 is considered the worst in Nigeria in the past four years. The virus has killed 76 people and infected more than 200 others since the outbreak.
Nigerian authorities said they were capable of putting the virus under control, noting there is a high survival rate for those diagnosed early.
It would be recalled that the Ministry of Health had moved to dispel speculations that the rampaging Lassa fever outbreak has claimed the lives of over 80 Nigerians, when the minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Sunday, maintained that deaths recorded in Nigeria from the virus remained 47.
Fielding questions from members of joint House Committee on Health, Adewole explained that the number of deaths so far recorded as a result of the Lassa fever outbreak in the country had been confirmed officially nationwide to be 47 deaths, adding that ‘any other figure published by the media was mere suspicion.’
The minister, who disclosed this while presenting his brief on 2015 budget performance at the National Assembly also said that he had instructed airport authorities to screen passengers coming into the country for Lassa fever and Zika virus.
Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Rep Chike Okafor at the meeting told the health ministry to drop any programme or project that will not promote the good health of Nigerians.
Chike said in the midst of meagre resources, there was the need to channel the available resources to critical health issues so as to improve the health being of the citizenry.
He told the health minister to ensure that his actions and policies were geared towards the promotion of a state of physical, mental, emotional and social well being of Nigerians.
Answering questions whether the amount voted to the health sector in the 2016 budget was adequate, he said, “When we look at the proposal and the estimate they have made, if we think it is not going to serve the adequate needs of Nigerians, we will do the needful.”

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