The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said the current outbreak of Lassa fever has affected 15 states with 105 laboratory confirmed cases, three probable cases and 31 deaths.
Adewole, who made this known at the Emergency National Council of Health in Abuja on Monday, said that in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 77 cases of Lassa fever.
According to him, the cases were in Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Osun and Lagos states.
The minister said 10 health care workers were affected in four states; seven in Ebonyi with one health worker from Nasarawa , Kogi and Benue states.
Adewole said of the 31 deaths from Lassa fever outbreak, four health workers died as a result of the disease; three deaths were recorded in Ebonyi and one in Kogi.
The minister, therefore, said the meeting was summoned to discuss the state of public health challenges in Nigeria with focus on some the challenges that bedevilled the nation in the past few weeks.
Adewole added that Lassa fever has been a current outbreak in the country, stressing that Nigeria has battled with series of outbreaks in the past few months.
According to the minister, Nigeria has dealt with Ebola in 2014; the country reacted strongly and the response was acknowledged by the international community.
“The success against Ebola created a situation whereby every other public health challenge in Nigeria to be a tea party.
“Therefore assume that Lassa fever and other challenges would be likened to malaria, that they were not serious,’’ he said.
The minister said that Nigeria had also dealt with the resurgence of polio, adding that the issuance of recertification will be tougher than it was before.
“The international community will not come to Nigeria’s rescue or certify the country polio free until everyone is sure that Nigeria is polio free, and that is another health challenge,’’ Adewole said.