Nigeria’s Ministry of Health has urged members of the public to be vigilant over a new outbreak of the deadly Lassa fever.
Two health workers in Ogun State died of the fever recently.
Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole confirmed the death of the health workers which occurred at the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta, Southwest Nigeria.
Authorities in Ogun state have set up an isolated centre to monitor scores of persons who had contacts with the victim.
The Health Minister urged Nigerians to be calm and seek care in healthcare facilities in the event they noticed any symptom of the disease.
“Anybody with symptoms which include fever, headaches, vomiting, should report immediately at the nearest medical facility.
“Healthcare professionals are reminded to test before treating for suspected malaria, and if the test is negative for malaria, to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever. Lassa fever is treatable when detected early.
“Medical personnel are hereby directed to report cases of suspected Lassa fever immediately to the state Epidemiologist, who has been provided with the commodities, by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to respond to cases,” he said.
The death of the health workers in Ogun came barely four months after the state government declared the state free of the disease.
The viral disease, known as Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever (LHF), has claimed many lives.
Ogun State commissioner for Health, Babatunde Ipaye, who also confirmed the incident to the media, said that about 196 primary contacts with the victim and possible secondary contacts were being monitored.
Ipaye stated that though the primary source of the new case was yet to be identified, the case was being investigated.
Also, the acting chief medical director of Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Kehinde Hunyinbo, who spoke on the development said that the area where the deceased was attended to has been decontaminated, while an isolation centre and other necessary things meant for treatment had been put in place.
He added that the centre was working hand in hand with the Ogun state government to curtail the spread of the virus.
Nigeria experienced a Lassa fever breakout earlier this year when about 101 persons in the country died of the ailment.
In 2015, 12 people died in Nigeria out of 375 infected, while in 2012 there were 1,723 cases and 112 deaths, according to the NCDC.
The number of Lassa fever infections in West Africa every year is between 100,000 to 300,000, with about 5,000 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infections with fever, vomiting and, in worse case scenarios, haemorrhagic bleeding.