Lassa Fever: Panic grips Kwara residents 

Matthew Denis and Ahmed Ajikobi

There is heightened tension among residents of Kwara State following the confirmation of a reported case of a deadly disease known as Lassa fever by the Kwara State Government.
Some of the respondents who spoke with our reporters last night called for combined efforts by health officers, the public and the state government to avert an outbreak of the epidemic disease.
According to a resident of Airport area, Shola Ajisafe, the confirmation of the disease in the state is disheartening and the development is already creating fear among the public.
Also, Mrs Iretiola Oguwande, a medical doctor said, “It is unfortunate that we already have a case of Lassa fever in the state but all stakeholders should join hands with the government to curtail its spread.
“People should stop harbouring items like garri and groundnut which could attract rats and other rodents to their houses,” she said.
For Kafilat Adedayo Balogun, a legal luminary, urged the public to take good care of their environment and all food items should be covered to avoid “any attack from the agents of the killer disease.”
She however appreciated the media for the sensitisation of the public on the disease adding that government should provide the necessary vaccine to avert an outbreak.
Speaking, the Kwara State Governor of Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), Alhaji Abdulfatah Adeniyi (Dan Kazeem) stressed that residents of the affected community should be enlightened and medical personnel be sent to the area to avoid the disease from spreading to other parts of the state.
In the same vein, a lecturer at the Kwara State University, Malete, Alabi Abdullahi urged the public not to dump their refuse indiscriminately and the state government to always evacuate Roro-bin promptly.
In her reaction, a trader, Mrs. Blessing Archibong tasked government at all levels to collaborate by training medical experts on how best to handle victims as the disease could be very deadly.
Also, a civil servant, Fatimah Yusuf said, “People should have good hygiene, dispose their refuse accordingly and must sanitise their environment always as ‘prevention they say is better than cure.”
Recall that the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Suleiman Atolagbe Alege had during a press conference in his office in Ilorin; last Friday said out of the five samples taken to Virology Unit Research Centre at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), one was confirmed positive case of Lassa fever.
He stated that the sample was taken from Babanla Primary Health Centre in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state where a 10-year-old boy was confirmed positive for Lassa fever.
Alege, added that medical team from the state Department of Public Health is moving to Babanla immediately to monitor the situation, isolate the victim and resume contact tracing for possible treatment and quarantine where necessary.
According to him, isolation centres will be created at General Hospital, Omu-Aran and Oro-Ago just as he said the information had been passed to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Commissioner however urged members of Babanla community and other residents of the state not to panic as the state government is on the alert to prevent any outbreak. He urged the people to take personal hygiene seriously and to keep their environment tidy always.

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