The Niger State Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Muhammad Maikusidi, has said that the state has been able to evade the Lassa fever outbreak so far by being on the alert and maintaining high level of surveillance.
Speaking with The Nation in Minna, the commissioner disclosed that the state has put its staff both at the local and ward level on high alert before the recent outbreak of the virus.
Niger State is currently among the states in Nigeria that have not recorded a case of Lassa fever in the recent outbreak of the virus.
The commissioner said the alertness was due to the fact that the state belongs to an endemic area and is surrounded by states that were prone to be affected, adding that officials at the border areas ensured that anyone coming from these states was given pre-position drugs.
“There was Lassa fever in our neighbouring states but we were very much on alert. In the event of any suspicion, we pick it up immediately. That is why we have not recorded any case in recent times.
“Moreover, we are also in the state of readiness in the event of having any positive case. We have an isolation centre that is ready to receive any case.
“We also have pre-position drugs for treating Lassa fever. Any exposure we hear about anyone, even if the person is not showing off any sign of the disease, we have the drug to give him. That is why our state has not experienced any case of Lassa fever,” he stated.
Makunsidi stated that the state government put in measures after the last outbreak of Lassa fever across Nigeria and did not come down on its measures, even when the outbreak was curtailed.
“We embarked on sensitisation and awareness campaigns to residents and health workers were told to embark on health talks at every available forum.