Two Test Positive For Lassa Fever In Delta

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Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole
Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole

From Ochei Matthew, Asaba
As the country’s health officials battle to contain the latest outbreak of Lassa fever, the virus may have spread to Delta State as two people are feared to have been infected by the disease.
The duo are currently being treated at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, the state capital.
Contacted to confirm the development, a top management staff of FMC said the matter was a federal government case and “we have been banned from speaking about it. Only the Minister of Health and the Commissioner of Health in the state that can comment on it”.
Our source said, the blood sample of the patients have been sent for further clarification, insisting that he has communicated same to the Ministry of Health through the phone numbers made available by the ministry.
The state commissioner for health could not be reached as at the time of filing the report, but when contacted the Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Churchill Oyowe, said they were not new cases and that one ofthe patient was already dead.
Oyowe said: “The patient came from Anambra State last week between Thursday and Friday, the patient is dead and I will issue a release today to that effect”.
However, our source at the FMC said that it was a fresh case, as against the PRO’s submission.
Meanwhile, there are fears in Asaba as residents complained that the state government was not proactive in combating the virus in the manner like Ebola was handled.
It would be recall that the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, during a press briefing told journalists in Asaba that no case of the Lassa fever virus has been recorded in the state, disclosing that the state government has placed seven local government areas under surveillance due to their closeness to Edo and Rivers states where the disease has occurred to prevent a possible outbreak of the epidemics in the state.

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  4. My name is Churchill Oyowe. The reporter of the above story called me on phone to find out the Lassa fever situation in the State and I told him to hold on because the State Ministry of Health would soon issue a release. Of course, the release was being prepared at the time he, Matthew Ochei called. I did not grant him any interview. I believe he desperately wanted to send report due to pressure probably from his editor, he then decided to report what I did not tell him. Worse of all, he concocted statement attribute to me deliberate to create a controversy just for his story to sell. This is unprofessional and against the ethics of journalism practice.

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