By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Lassa fever has killed over 80 persons in Ondo state within the last one year, the state government has revealed.
Health Commissioner, Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye disclosed this in Owo during a road walk sensitization on the eradication of Lassa fever in the state.
Adeyeye noted that despite the fatalities and scare caused by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, Lassa fever has killed more people in Ondo State in 2020.
“According to records, 18% fatalities were recorded from the total reported cases of Lassa fever in the state when compared to the less than 1% of COVID-19 related deaths in the state.
Adeyeye said that “all the confirmed cases of the disease in Nigeria, 75% are from three states with Ondo State topping the chart with 36%.
“We are in an unfortunate situation of COVID-19 all over the world. It has killed 41 people in Ondo State from January till now.
” But Lassa has killed more than 80 people. 18% of Lassa fever victims have died compared to 1% of COVID-19
“It has been with us for a long. It is when the dry season starts that we usually experience the issue of Lassa Fever. Ondo State is one of the states in Nigeria that disease is rampant. This is a serious situation that must not be taken lightly. We are determined about this disease, so want to eradicate it.
“Unlike COVID-19, Lassa can be prevented if we eradicate rodents from our homes and surroundings.
“The rodenticide is distributed free of charge which must not be sold. It only meant to be applied in homes to eradicate rats. If we don’t kill rats, they will kill us.
“Owo and Ose is the epicenter of the disease in the state, hence the commencement of the campaign against the disease in the state.
“The two Local Governments have the highest cases of Lassa fever in the state. It is a very serious health challenge.
Adeyeye appealed to residents on the need to always maintain proper hygiene by ensuring that rodents who are the carriers of the disease are exterminated from their surroundings.
The Commissioner who noted that the dry season usually heralds the outbreak of the disease in the country said that the only way that Lassa fever can be eradicated is only when rodents are wiped off from communities, hence the distribution of 10,000 rodenticides free of charge to residents in order to exterminate rodents.
The State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi who was represented by Dr. Zaccaria Gbelela, maintained that the age group affected most by the disease are those between 21-30 years.
Fagbemi added that from January till date, a total of 806 confirmed cases of Lassa fever were recorded with 204 deaths in the country.
Earlier, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye had lauded the state government for its proactiveness to tackle the deadly disease.