No fewer than nine people have died of Lassa fever in Benue State in the past two months.

The State Epidemiologist, Dr Sam Ngishe,  disclosed this to journalists in a telephone chat on Thursday.

This comes after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said it has recorded 2,621 suspected Lassa fever cases and 84 deaths with a case fatality rate of 18.6 per cent.

According to Ngishe, 46 people including health workers and internally displaced persons have been hit by the dreaded disease across the state.

He noted that four cases were found among the Internally displaced persons at Ortese IDP camp in Guma LGA of the state.

Dr Ngishe said that the disease had spread to seven of the 23 local government areas of the state, and identified the affected council areas to include; 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 who added that the fatality rate was on the high side in the state said that the state is working towards reducing it.

He said, “We are hoping to reduce the numbers of the deaths such that the key fatality rate for the state is less than 10 per cent which is what the nation expects from all the states. For now, what we have is above that figure.

Part of the efforts being put in place, according to the state Epidemiologist are sustenance response through the intervention of the Federal Government through the World Bank and Nigeria Center for Disease Control.

“Also, we have spoken loudly to enhance our surveillance efforts, risk communication (creating social behaviour change)  in the community, and we have also spoken about the laboratory component of the response and coordination.

“There is active surveillance going on in the community (housing Ortese IDP camp)  as you know 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.

“And from our report so far, the IDP camp has a high population of rats; so if the rats transmitting such 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,” he added.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here