Federal Government says there are indications of a rise in Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, even as 132 people have died since the outbreak of the disease this year, giving a 19.1 percent increase in case fatality.
Minister of States for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora who revealed this in Abuja during the first April bi-monthly press interaction facilitated by the Africa Health Budget Network, AHBN, further stated that 681 cases have presently been confirmed.
While explaining that the Federal Government is responding to the outbreak through the enforcement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH practices, Sen. Mamora also noted that there are currently three thousand, seven hundred and forty-six, (3746) suspected cases in 23 states of the federation.
“Lassa fever confirmed cases seem to be on the rise as the present fatality rate is 19.1%. There have been 3746 suspected cases in 23 states and 681 confirmed cases, with 132 deaths recorded.
“Part of government’s response to Lassa fever is the enforcement of environmental sanitation and focus on long term improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities to eliminate and reduce cholera.”
Speaking on the relaxation of some COVID-19 protocols in the country, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa stressed that the NCDC and its partners will closely monitor the trend of events especially in the Easter Festive period for any changes that could be a source of worry.
Dr. Adetifa also debunked media reports of increased COVID-19 cases in the country, as he clarified that they have been no deaths in the past four weeks and test positivity rates in the country have remained at same level since two weeks now.
“Following the relaxation of the travel advisory, the NCDC and partners are on very high alert to watch what will happen to the disease trend over this Easter period and of course towards the end of the Ramadan season.
“This is to see if there are any changes in COVID trend that will be a source of worry. However, as advised in the spirit of relaxed restrictions continue to live safely, make sure you make use of every opportunity that has been afforded to get vaccinated. We are all trying to get into a consolidation phase for the COVID response and one of the key pillars is a very high uptake of the COVID vaccine.
“We have heard from the Honourable Minister about the epidemiological situation in Nigeria. We have thankfully not had any deaths for the past week and we know that the test positivity rate in the country has stayed the same in the last two weeks which is about 0.2% of all samples tested.
“May I use this opportunity to correct a wrongful news headline that made the rounds today. There was a report of 45% increase in case numbers for period of the first 9 days of the month which is from the 1st of April to the 9th of April. And the basis of the report was using of absolute numbers that in the preceding week there 182 cases and it went up to 265 by April 9.”
Meanwhile, incidents of resistance by passengers in Kano and Enugu where passengers were refusing to pay for their Polymerase Chain Reaction, (PCR) tests have been tackled and high compliance recorded by the Ports Health Authority.
It was also noted that the Federal Ministry of Health has already initiated discussions with regards to setting up a committee to implement the World Health Organisation, (WHO’s) call during the 2022 World Health Day commemoration for accelerated action to protect human health and combat the climate crisis.