‘Nigeria records 5,000 deaths from Lassa fever yearly’
About five thousand deaths occur yearly from Lassa fever while over 300,000 cases arise from the disease in Nigeria, Professor Chika Ogbonna, a consultant from the Department of Public Health at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), has said.
Professor Ogbonna said such deaths attributed to the disease in Nigeria were undiagnosed and that “80% tends to be mild or no symptoms cases while 20% are fatal.”
Ogbonna, who represented the Chief Medical Director of JUTH Dr Ishaya Pam at a sensitization workshop on Lassa fever for healthcare workers and professionals organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in Jos, also said delay in diagnoses of the disease was one of the major setbacks in the fight against Lassa fever.
“The only high tech Lassa Fever Diagnostic Centre in Nigeria is the one at Eruwa in Edo State and it takes weeks for you to take the samples and obtain results. Eruwa is very far and by the time results come back, the patients are either dead or in cases where it is not Lassa fever the patients are already cured and discharged from the hospitals”, he said.
Dr Emmanuel Akpapuna, leader of the Special Task Force Committee on Lassa Fever set up by the federal government, said the workshop was aimed at bringing succour to the general public and preventing further mortality arising from the disease in Plateau and Nigeria.
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