Lassa fever has reportedly claimed its first victim in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, since its outbreak in the west African country in November 2015.
According to Premium Times, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made the announcement on Wednesday.
The victim was a 33-year-old married man from Jos, Plateau State who had travelled to visit a family member in Kubwa, Abuja. The patient fell ill and was taken to a private Kubwa hospital for eight days before being transported to a public hospital.
He died 24 hours after arriving at the hospital.
The minister advised family members and those who were in contact with him to report to the nearest hospital if they got struck by a fever for more than two days.
Adewole urged Abuja residents not to panic, but to remain vigilant and to visit the nearest hospital if they experienced any Lassa fever symptom.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Lassa is a “viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus… It is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta”.
The total amount of Lassa deaths in Nigeria has so far increased to 43. The first case was reported in Bauchi State in November 2015, and has since spread to other states including, Edo, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo States.
Adewole advised the general public to improve their hygiene and to avoid contact with rats and food which are contaminated with the excretion and secretion of rats.