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Lassa: FG places 15 persons under surveillance

TVCE (ABUJA) – The Federal Government has started tracing 35 persons believed to have had contact with the Lassa fever patient that died at the National Hospital, Abuja on Wednesday with 15 other people already under surveillance.

The death of the 33-year-old brought the total number of Lassa fever deaths in the country to 43 and marked the outbreak of Lassa fever in the Federal Capital Territory.

The Director, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, confirmed the contact tracingin an interview with journalists Thursday in Abuja, adding that 15 persons had been placed under surveillance.

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The number of people under surveillance, according to him, might increase before the end of the day as the contact tracing is still on.

 Spokesperson of the National Hospital, Dr. Tayo Hastrup, said an isolation centre had been set up in the National Hospital for treatment of Lassa fever.

He also said that hospital workers have been prepared for such cases should there be any reccurrence.

Hastrup also revealed that the test conducted on the other suspected patient came out negative and assured FCT residents that the hospital was adequately prepared to deal with any emergency.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered the immediate renovation of the Primary Healthcare Centre in Fuka, Muyan Local Government of Niger State.

The renovation is part of steps to reposition the centre to render 24-hours service for any suspected case of Lassa fever.

Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness, with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa fever virus with an incubation period of six-21 days.

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About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic. The remaining cases have severe multi-system disease, where the virus affects several organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.

The onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract, and low blood pressure.

The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multimammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas.

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