The outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria has spread to Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital where a nursing mother and her two-week-old baby have been confirmed to have died of the deadly viral disease. This comes after the Taraba state government last week confirmed the outbreak of the disease in their state.
Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, while confirming the death of the mother and child said
“First incident happened between December 30, 2015, and January 1, to a mother and later to her two weeks old child. Yesterday, at about 10:00 pm, I received a call that a mother and child died in a hospital following similar and serious fever which killed them and was suspected to be Lassa fever. After series of test conducted on them, it was confirmed they died of the disease.”.
He said that contact tracing had begun and sensitisation of health care providers was ongoing to address the disease. Lassa fever is a deadly viral disease that is transmitted by infected rodents. The virus is usually transmitted after exposure to infected rodents and also through direct contact with a person that has been infected with the virus.
Precautionary measures to avert being infected include ensuring a clean, rodent-free environment, putting food in rodent proof containers and wearing protections such as masks, gloves, gowns among others.