Ebonyi - The Ebonyi government on Monday confirmed a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever, saying that two persons have died from the disease and four others on the danger list.
The Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of health, Mr Hyacinth Oteh, announced the development while receiving the health emergency response team from the Federal Ministry of Health.
Oteh said the outbreak of the disease was reported on Feb. 1 and confirmed that two of the six patients infected with the disease had died while the other four were critical.
He regretted the absence of a virology laboratory in the state to aid early diagnosis and treatment of the disease, adding that some deaths had been recorded earlier when the disease was first reported in the state in 2005.
The permanent secretary advocated for the establishment of a virology laboratory in each of the geo-political zones to help contain the spread of the disease through early diagnosis and treatment.
``There is an urgent need for the establishment of at least one virology laboratory in each geo-political zone of the country.
``The Lassa fever disease is spreading like a wild fire and there is a need for the government to rise up to this urgent health challenge before it becomes an epidemic,’’ Oteh said.
He said that medical doctors and other health workers involved in the fight against the disease should emphasise contact tracing in order to isolate people identified with the disease.
He noted that the state government had commenced enlightenment campaign on the resurgence of the disease and the need for members of the public to protect themselves.
Dr Jerry Kehinde, the leader of the team, said nine states, including Ebonyi, had been identified as Lassa fever prone and maintained that the Federal Ministry of Health was doing everything to contain the spread.
He said the virus was being spread by a specie of rats known as mastomis netlensis.
He said the states affected were those ravaged by the 2012 flood disaster and warned the people to avoid contacts with rats.
Kehinde said the team would identify the source of the infection and create public awareness about the disease.