Abia State Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of lassa fever in Olokoro community, Umuahia South Local Government Area.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Chief Egbulefu Eze, told newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday that 28-year-old man, who died in the community, was diagnosed of lassa fever.
Eze allayed the fears of possible epidemic in the state, saying that the ministry was taking measures to contain the spread of the disease.
He said that the victim died on January 1 at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, where he was admitted.
He said, “I want to report about an outbreak of lassa fever at Olokoro,” the permanent secretary said, adding that it was the fourth time Abia would experience the outbreak since 1999.
He said that the state government had always contained previous outbreaks and was already on top of the situation.
“There’s no cause for alarm. Government is on top of the situation,” Eze said.
He said that in the course of the investigation, all those that came in close contact with the deceased had been identified and placed on surveillance.
He said that the disease surveillance officers of the ministry was already consulting with the state office of the World Health Organisation to map out strategies on ways to checkmate the spread of the disease.
Speaking on the disease, the Medical Director of FMC Umuahia, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, said that the deceased was initially suspected to be suffering from acute appendicitis.
Onyebuchi said that further examination on the man revealed the case of lassa fever.
He said that the hospital had identified all the hospital personnel that came in contact with him and placed them on 21 days surveillance.
Also, the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Council, Dr Ugochukwu Onyeonoro, said that the hospital had been “decontaminated”.
Onyeonoro said that the patient was brought to FMC from another hospital and that the state government was promptly informed after the case of lassa fever was established.