The National Center for Disease Control confirmed the deaths of five people on Friday after the Lasa fever outbreak in Benue.
Programs Officer, Risk Communications Desk, National Centre for Disease Control, Mrs. Hanatu Bello who made this known to the Sun, in Makurdi, said 21 suspected cases were recorded, of which eight cases were confirmed while five infected persons died.
She said, “Since the beginning of the year, there have been 21 suspected cases of Lassa fever in Benue State. Eight cases were confirmed after laboratory tests and five deaths have so far been recorded.”
Bello maintained that the Centre received the information late as most patients who presented the symptoms got to the hospital rather late.
According to her, as soon as the information was received, the rapid response unit of the centre swung into action to nip the situation in the bud.
“Lassa fever, though preventable, must be treated early. Lassa fever is caused by the body fluids of rats and once these body fluids contaminate our utensils, they can cause infection. Infected persons can also infect others and it only takes a few days to show signs and symptoms such as fever, sore throats, bloody diarrhea, bleeding from the gums, bleeding into skin, eyes and urine.
“We must encourage people to wash their hands properly by observing the five steps of hand washing.
“Hand washing must be with running water and not static water before cooking, after the use of toilet and while attending to sick people, before and after attending to cuts or wounds.
“We need to prevent people from storing trash in their homes, and we need to continue to maintain a clean environment and our trash cans so as not to attract rats, we also need to block rat holes in our homes, and raw food must be covered properly,” he added.