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Lassa Fever Kills 23 In 90 Days In Ebonyi

Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

No fewer than 23 persons are said to have died from Lassa fever in Ebonyi State, in less than 90 days.

The state Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, Orogwu Sampson, said the state has recorded 45 confirmed cases of the virus with the 23 deaths, leaving a case fatality rate of 51.1 percent.

Five health workers were infected by the virus, with one death. Two pregnant women were also infected by the disease.

Orogwu, who said seven out of the 13 local governments areas in the state were hotspots of the disease, added that Abakaliki Local Government alone recorded 21 cases with 12 deaths.

He disclosed that there were higher cases last year with less deaths while there were lower cases this year with more deaths.

“The current situation is that since the outset of the outbreak for this season, we have had 45 confirmed cases in Ebonyi with 23 deaths, leaving a case fatality rate of 51.1 percent.

“Of the 45 confirmed cases, we have had five health workers’ infections with one death from a health worker. We have had two cases from pregnant women, three cases from school children and one case from a retiree.

“These cases are coming from across the whole state, but principally from seven hotspot LGAs, and these LGAs are Abakaliki, Ezza North, Ikwo, Onicha, Izzi, Ohaukwu and Ebonyi.

“So, for the 45 cases we have recorded, Abakaliki Local Government accounts for 21 cases and 12 deaths. So, the bulk of the cases are from Abakaliki. Ebonyi Local Government has had six confirmed cases with one death; Ezza North, seven confirmed cases with five deaths; Ikwo, four confirmed with three deaths; Izzi, one confirmed case with one death; Ohaukwu, five confirmed cases with no death; and Onicha, one confirmed case with one death.

“Abakaliki has higher confirmed cases and deaths because there are more people in Abakaliki, and as the town is growing, it is equally coming with its own side effects. We are beginning to have slums and the bulk of the cases in Abakaliki are coming from Hausa Quarters and the Nkaliki axis.

“In Ezza North, the bulk of the cases are coming from Umuoghara and Oriuzor. Oriuzor has proximity with Nkaliki. Then, Umuoghara has become a refuse dumpsite, and it has become a breeding site for rats. So, rats move from there to communities. These are what account for the high number of the virus in these two local governments.

“Last year, we had more cases with less deaths. We had 53 cases with about 35 deaths, but this year, we have lower cases with more deaths. So, the case fatality rate is higher now,” he stated.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Nwambeke Ogbonna, opined that there had been increased sensitisation, advocacy, research, and monitoring, since the outbreak of the disease in the state this year.



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