The Federal Ministry Of Health (FMOH) has said that the government in responding to Lassa fever outbreak and there is no available vaccine yet.
This was disclosed by Minister of State, FMOH, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.
Mamora said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and some other global public health entities were working to develop an effective vaccine for the country.
Recall that in 2017, the National Institute of Health awarded Tulane University in America, more than $12 million to test a promising drug against the Lassa fever virus.
The grant would also go into developing a vaccine based on a recently discovered key antibody target on the surface of the virus.
Mamora said “We are responding to Lassa fever outbreak. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 16, we had 586 confirmed cases with 103 deaths from 26 states. Of the confirmed cases, 73 per cent came from Edo,” he said.
He stated that the decline in the number of deaths from Lassa fever compared to previous years was an important outcome that testified to hard work from all relevant agencies.
“We will continue working with other government agencies, states and tertiary hospitals to protect the health of Nigerians.
“Public awareness is vital in the fight against infectious diseases. Lassa fever and COVID19 are threatening lives on this earth.
“Let us create awareness in our society,” he said.
The minister noted that the most important preventive methods against Lassa fever outbreak was the elimination of rodent habitats by improving sanitation, safe food storage and preparation, and clean water access.
“Hand hygiene requires washing with soap and water or using alcohol-based sanitiser between patients.
“When working within three feet of a patient, barrier personal protective equipment should include an impermeable long-sleeved gown, gloves that cover the sleeves, and a face mask with eye protection from splashes.
“Safe injection practices require use of disposable rather than reusable needles. Similar personal protective measures are needed for safe laboratory handling and safe mortuary services,” he advised.
He, however, called on Nigerians to ensure that they kept their homes clean to prevent rats which were carriers of the virus that causes Lassa fever.
Meanwhile, on COVID19, he said information available to Nigerian government was that the first case of virus had been reported from Egypt and that the affected person was a foreigner.
Mamora added that the Ministry had put together an inter-ministerial committee to provide oversight leadership. He said the committee was being coordinated by NCDC and that it meets twice a week.
He said: “Nigeria is receiving technical support from the World Health Organisation, (WHO), Africa Centre for Disease Control and West African Health Organisation”.
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