Edo gov tackles Lassa fever

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has ordered local government chairmen in the state  to sensitising the people at the grassroots to the risk of Lassa fever’s resurgence in the state.

He  told them to “mobilise information units in their areas to take the message of how to prevent the disease to remote parts of the state”.

The governor, according to a statement on Monday by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, spoke in Benin, against the backdrop of a breakthrough made by some scientists in the diagnosis of Lassa fever.

According to the statement, the scientists, partnering  officials at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, “made a breakthrough with a rapid portable genomic sequencing technology to identify viruses without prior knowledge of the cause of the disease”.

Obaseki said his administration had intensified efforts  to  prevent a resurgence of Lassa fever in the state.

He said, “It is no news that we are susceptible to Lassa fever in some parts of the state due to a number of factors. The risk of a resurgence in Nigeria is high in the dry season, as people engage in burning bushes.

“However, the Edo State Government has commenced an elaborate sensitisation campaign to ensure that the people are better informed about  what can cause or spread Lassa fever this season. We are aware of the resurgence of Lassa fever in other states and are committed to stamping out the disease from our state.

“This is why the governor is calling on the chairmen of local government areas, who are closest to the people, to ensure that this message gets to our people everywhere.”

The Chief Medical Director of ISTH, Prof  Sylvanus Okogbeni, congratulated the scientists from Public Health England, the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine, Germany, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation on the breakthrough in Lassa fever diagnosis.
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