Imo State Health Commissioner, Dr. Angela Uwakwem, has said that two residents of Owerri have died of Lassa fever which has resurfaced in the state.
Uwakwem, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent in Owerri on Wednesday said, “Lassa fever is in Owerri. It is confirmed.”
Uwakwem said two persons died of the virus after they were “referred out of” the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
The health commissioner said, “We have seven suspected cases of Lassa fever. Two are confirmed.
“The Imo State Government is working hard to establish the point of first contact. The media should also help us to enlighten our people.
“People should stop unnecessary shaking of hands. People should also stop eating exposed foods. The virus is caused by rats, so people should be encouraged to make use of rat poison in their homes.”
The Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Dr. Kingsley Achigbu, told The PUNCH in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that two victims were referred to the hospital.
According to him, the Lassa fever victims who were referred to FMC from another hospital were later “referred out.”
He explained that Governor Rochas Okorocha has been informed of the outbreak of the virus and the number of victims.
He debunked the speculations that the victims died in FMC, Owerri, saying that the authorities of the hospital referred them out of the Federal Government-owned facility after that had been given medical attention.
But a source in government who preferred not to be mentioned told our correspondent that the victims died out of the state.