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Lassa Fever kills 9 as authorities confirm 46 cases in Benue 

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From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
Benue state government has confirmed 46 cases of Lassa Fever in the state saying nine persons have died so far as a result of the  outbreak.
The Commissioner of Health in the state, Dr Yanmar Ortese said 35 persons tested positive leaving five dead.
But giving an update, the State Epidemiologist, Dr Sam Ngishe said from result gotten so far, Benue has 46 cases of Lassa spread across seven local government areas to including Obi, Okpokwu, Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East and Ukum representing an increase compared to what the state had last year.
“So far, we have nine deaths in confirmed cases as we speak. We have been able to bury all these deaths in accordance with safe burial protocols across the various areas of state where they hail from. We have sustained response through the intervention of the Federal Government, the World Bank and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (NCDC).
“They have spoken loudly to enhance our surveillance efforts, risk communication (creating social behaviour change) in the community, they have also spoken to the laboratory component of the response and coordinations.
“Now, we are hoping to reduce the numbers of the deaths such that the key fatality rate for the state is less than 10 percent which is what the national expects from all of the state. For now, what we have is above that figure,” he said.
Ngishe, who disclosed that the first case was noticed in week 50 of year 2023, lamented shortage of personnel saying they are looking forward to more staff to join them in the course of response.
“We have reported cases in the IDP camps, precisely Ortese and we took several samples as well from the host community but we did not pick any other positive case from the samples taken.
“However, there is active surveillance going on in the community as you know that the IDP camp is a cluster setting with very poor infection control in terms of poor sanitation, crowded environment and they have issues of malnutrition.
“From our report so far, the IDP camp has high population of rats; so if the rat transmitting such are within the IDP camps, it means that we need to work hard so we don’t have an outbreak that will be difficult to control.”
He however stated that the state government is working together with partners to ensure that the space does not have a humanitarian disaster that is more than what it’s already suffering.

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