The acting Commissioner for Health in Ondo State, Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye, has reiterated government’s commitment to eradicating Lassa fever, which he described as deadlier than COVID-19.
Adeyeye said this during the road walk sensitisation on eradication of Lassa fever in Owo, Owo Local Government Area of the state.
He said that in spite of the fatalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lassa fever killed more people in state in the outgoing year.
The commissioner said that record had shown that 18 percent fatality was recorded from the total reported cases of Lassa fever in the state as against less than one percent of COVID-19 related deaths.
The commissioner said that of all the confirmed cases of the disease in Nigeria, 75 percent were from three states, with Ondo topping the chart with 36 percent.
While stating that Owo and Ose Local Government Areas of the state were the epicenters of Lassa fever, he appealed to residents to shun bad habits that could lead to the spread of the disease.
The commissioner also advised residents to ensure the extermination of rodents which, he said, were the carriers of the disease, from their surroundings.
He said that the dry season usually heralded the outbreak of the disease, adding that the only way to eradicate it was getting rid of rodents in the state.
The commissioner said that this had necessitated the free distribution of 10,000 rodenticides to the people of the state.
Adeyeye, who described the outbreak of COVID-19 in the world as unfortunate, said that it had killed 41 people in state from January till date, adding, however, that Lassa had killed more than 80.
“Lassa fever has been with us for long. It is when the dry season starts that we usually experience the disease. Ondo is one of the states in Nigeria where the disease is rampant.
“This is a serious situation which must not be taken lightly. We are determined to eradicate it and it can be prevented if we eradicate rodents from our homes and surroundings.
“The rodenticide is being distributed free and must not be sold by anyone. It is meant to be applied in homes to eradicate rats. If we don’t kill the rats, they will kill us.
“We decided to start the campaign in Owo since it is one of the epicentres of the disease in the state,” Adeyeye said.
The state Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, who was represented by Dr. Zachariah Gbelela, maintained that the people mostly affected the disease were those between 21and 30 years.
He added that from January till date, a total of 806 confirmed cases of Lassa fever had been recorded in the country, with 204 deaths.
The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after the team visited his palace, lauded the state government for being proactive in tackling the deadly disease.
He said that the Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration had taken the right step towards eradicating rats from the state, adding that this would help in stamping out the yearly occurrence of Lassa fever.
“With the level of our development, I think we have the capacity to prevent it from reoccurring,” the royal father stated.
NAN reports that the team also took the campaign to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, a Lassa fever treatment centre where rodenticides were also distributed. (NAN)