· Disease spreads to 20 states
· Zika Virus not serious, says Minister
More Nigerians have been confirmed to have died from Lassa Fever since its outbreak in October last year.
The Federal Government, which gave an update on the disease’s spread and casualty level on Thursday in Abuja, said that 108 Nigerians have now died from it.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who spoke on the development, explained that as at yesterday, Nigeria had recorded 176 cases of Lassa Fever with 108 deaths, representing 61.4 percent fatality rate.
Prof. Adewole added that, “as at today, 20 states are currently following up contacts, or have suspected or probable cases with laboratory results pending or laboratory confirmed cases.”
However, he declared that the disease outbreak is under control, “as evidenced by the decline in new suspected cases, new laboratory confirmed cases and newly reported conformed cases.”
To avoid cases arising from complacency, the minister said that he had directed the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCBC) to work with the Lassa Fever Eradication Committee and other partners to develop a Lassa Fever Control Strategy.
On the Zika Virus outbreak, the government urged Nigerians not to lose sleep because it is not a serious threat.
At a media briefing in Abuja, the minister said that both adults and children in Nigeria have antibodies that can prevent them against the Zika virus.
He said: “Nigerian scientists working in western Nigeria in 1954 discovered Zika in the country. Further studies in 1975 to 1979 showed that 40 percent of Nigerian adults and 25 percent of Nigerian children have antibodies to the Zika Virus, meaning they are protected against the disease.
“It is important, however, to state categorically, that until now, in Africa and Nigeria inclusive, this virus does not cause any serious illness and those so far infected, individually recover fully with no serious complications,” the minister stated.
He warned that despite the fact that some Nigerians are immune to the Zika Virus infection as demonstrated in the previous studies, “it is important and advisable that Nigerians should be careful and protect themselves from mosquito bites.
“There is as of now, no known specific treatment for Zika Virus disease. Treatment is therefore generally supportive and it includes rest, fluids, and use of pain killers and antipyretics.
“In pregnant women with laboratory evidence of Zika Virus is serum or amniotic fluid; serial ultrasounds should be considered to monitor foetal anatomy and growth every three to four weeks. Referral to a maternal-foetal medicine or infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management is recommended,” he said.