The Federal Government has said 41 Nigerians have died following the outbreak of Lassa fever in over 10 states.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this at a press briefing jointly organised with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government planned to establish an inter-ministerial committee as part of the long term measure to end the menace of Lassa fever in the country.
The committee would be made up of the ministers in charge of education, agriculture and natural resources, environment, information and culture as well as health.
As of January 8, the number of suspected cases stood at 86 and the number of laboratory confirmed cases stood at 22. While the number of deaths stood at 40, the fatality rate stood at 46.5 per cent.
Adewole said, “As of today (Tuesday), records from our surveillance show that the number of suspected cases is 93, the number of laboratory confirmed cases is 25 and the number of reported deaths is 41, with a case fatality of 44 per cent.
“We will like to state that given the high index of suspicion, the increasing number of suspected cases may not be out of place, as health practitioners are more likely to include Lassa fever as a differential diagnosis in their health care facilities.
“However, the good news is that there have been no new confirmed cases of death in the last 48 hours. This is reflection of our coordinated response and advocacy to all states.”
The minister also disclosed that in the last 48 hours, the government had raised a four-man committee headed by Prof. Michael Asuzu, president of the Society of Public Health Practitioners of Nigeria, to visit Niger, Kano and Bauchi, the three most affected states.
The committee, he said, would embark on a fact-finding mission, assess the current situation, document response experiences, identify gaps and proffer recommendations on how to prevent future occurrences.