Benue State is currently struggling with a Lassa fever outbreak that has claimed the lives of nine individuals in the past two months.

The state epidemiologist, Dr. Sam Ngishe, revealed this to newsmen on Thursday, noting that some of the deceased were residing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

“From our report so far, the IDP camp has a high population of rats. So, if the rats transmitting are within the IDP camps, it means that we need to work hard so we don’t have an outbreak that will be difficult to control,” the epidemiologist said.

He stated that 46 people, including health workers and IDPs, have been affected by the disease across the state.

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Ngishe stated that four cases were identified among displaced persons at the Ortese IDP camp in the Guma Local Government Area, and that the disease had spread to seven of the 23 local government areas of the state, including Obi, Okpokwu, Gwer West, Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, and Ukum.


He said, “nine deaths in confirmed cases and they have been buried in accordance with safe burial protocols across the various areas of the state where they hail from.”

The epidemiologist stated that, to address the outbreak, the state government had implemented safe burial protocols for the deceased and was intensifying efforts to reduce the fatality rate, which was currently above the national average of 10 percent.

Ngishe stated the importance of enhanced surveillance, risk communication, and community engagement to mitigate the spread of the disease.

He also pointed to the challenges posed by the IDP camp environment, including poor sanitation, overcrowding, and malnutrition, which contribute to the spread of infectious diseases.

“There is active surveillance going on in the community (housing Ortese IDP camp) as you know that the IDP camp is a cluster setting with very poor infection control in terms of poor sanitation, crowded environment and they have issues of malnutrition,” he noted.



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