Ondo State has disputed a claim by the Federal Government of new cases of Lassa fever in the state from last December.
The Commissioner for Health in the Ondo, Dayo Adeyanju, told PREMIUM TIMES in Akure that it was a long time ago since Lassa fever occurred in the state, noting that the figures put forth by Federal Ministry of Health were inaccurate.
Elsie Ilori, Director of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, last week said 44 cases of Lassa fever had been reported since December 2016 in nine states including Ogun, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Edo, Nasarawa, Rivers, Ebonyi and Ondo, with some of the cases classified as probable.
She also said that seven new cases of the fever had been confirmed in Edo, Ondo, and Bauchi states.
According to Mrs. Ilori, four of the seven new cases were reported in Edo State, two in Ondo, while Bauchi had one case, quoting the weekly report collated by the NCDC.
But Mr. Adeyanju said the cases cited by the NCDC occurred “a very long time ago,” and no new case had been recorded since December.
“Those cases are long, long, long ago,” he said. “Maybe you are just getting to hear about them.
“The surveillance has been very high, we have been trying to keep tab on every fever.
“We have also continued to create awareness using the radio, television, posters and handbills.
“We have also tried to set up case management. Whatever case we find we trace their contacts, and we sent their samples for test. If they test positive, we send them for management.”
Mr. Adeyanju also said the state government had made efforts to set up a special hospital and equip it for the purpose of tackling Lassa fever, adding that efforts were underway to purchase diagnostic equipment for the state.
Three cases of the disease were confirmed in the state in January 2016, which claimed the lives of those infected.
But a recurrence of the epidemic in neighbouring states like Ogun in December resulted in a state-wide sensitisation by the Ondo State Ministry of Health.