OrderPaperToday – The Senate has invited the Minister of Health, Mr. Isaac Adewole, to brief it over the outbreak of Lassa fever in 10 states of the federation.

This followed a motion moved at plenary on Tuesday by Sen. Olanrewaju Tejuoso (APC-Ogun Central) and co-sponsored by five other senators.

The senate also called on the Federal Government, health agencies and non-governmental organisations to carry out holistic and aggressive sensitization in affected states, market places, restaurants, schools and other public places on preventive measures.

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The senate while condoling with families that have lost loved ones to the disease, urged Nigerians to adhere to rules of personal hygiene as well as report cases of persistent high fever to the nearest health center.

Sen. Tejuoso, while raising the motion, expressed concern that since a similar outbreak in 2014, which claimed 20 lives, nothing had been done to check further outbreak of the disease.

The lawmaker disclosed that Lassa fever frequently infected people in Africa and resulted in 300,000 to 50,000 cases annually and about 5000 deaths each year.

He lamented that “in spite of this awareness, health and corporate agencies in Nigeria, emphasize on awareness creation only after new cases appears’’ and expressed concern that if nothing urgent is done to curtail further outbreak and spread, it would reach a magnitude where it could be declared a national emergency.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over plenary, called on the Federal Ministry of Health to provide adequate fund the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Saraki said it was expedient for the centre to be adequately funded to enable it function effectively in curtailing the spread and further outbreak of the disease while asking the Senate Committee on Health to interface with the Ministry of Health in ensuring that the disease was properly managed.

“The most important issue is that the Committee on Health should do their oversight by  engaging with the Minister of Health on how far the ministry has gone in tackling the problem,’’ he said.

A minute silence was thereafter observed for those, who lost their lives to the disease.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus. The disease is typically spread through aerosolized (solid or liquid particles dispersed or suspended in air) virus particle through infected rodents or close contact with individuals with an incubation period of 5 to 21 days, with symptoms typically appearing 10 days after infection.



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