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Reps Tasks FG To Double Effort On Checking Lassa Fever Outbreak


Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The House of Representatives has directed the Federal Ministry of Health, National Center for Disease Control and other relevant agencies to intensify efforts toward eradicating the Lassa fever, which has so far claimed the lives of over 41 people.

The House urged the Federal Government (FG) to ensure adequate provision of funds to tackle the outbreak of the disease and consider it as a matter of emergency.

The members gave the charge following the adoption of the motion titled: “Urgent need to stop the embarrassing outbreak of Lassa fever virus in Nigeria and the need to step up the fight against further spread and loss of lives,” sponsored by Chike Okafor, Chairman, House Committee on health services.

The motion was subsequently referred to the joint committee on health services and health institutions for further legislative action.

Leading the debate on the motion, Okafor noted that the deadly disease which has so far infected over 93 Nigerians has spread to Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Gombe and Oyo States respectively.

While stressing the need to take deliberate actions towards containing the disease which currently has no cure for its virus, observed that “this is the first time Lassa fever virus is occurring in Nigeria which has continued to wreak havoc in the lives of helpless Nigerians who fall victims of this disease.

“The House is worried that since the outbreak of this killer virus with the rate at which it has spread into 10 states in the country, citizens of the country have continued to live in fear. We are aware of the measures and interventions of the Federal Ministry of Health to contain this outbreak and the need for all Nigerians, stakeholders and relevant agencies to get involved in creating awareness in the fight to stamp out this killer virus in Nigeria.

“The House is concerned that about 80% of people who become infected with Lassa fever virus have no early visible symptoms as the incubation period of the virus ranges from 6-21 days and symptoms at this stage include: high fever, vomiting, back pain and bleeding. Death usually occurs within 14 days of obvious signs in fatal cases,” Okafor noted.

In his contribution, Ossai Ossai, Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, who expressed concern over the death toll, just as he urged the relevant House Committees to do thorough work while engaging government agencies.

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