The Rivers State government has confirmed the death of three persons who tested positive to the Lassa Fever Virus.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Wednesday, the acting permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Chinwe Atata, advised members of the public not to panic as the state government was doing everything to contain the spread of the virus.
Atata advised members of the public to continue all necessary preventive measures under the circumstances, describing Lassa fever as an acute Viral Hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus.
She said: "You will recall that a few days ago, I briefed you on a number of suspected cases that were being investigated in the state. We have received preliminary confirmation that three of the samples tested positive to Lassa virus.
Atata maintained that the State Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) had earlier commenced proactive effort for containment of the outbreak.
"So far, all hands are on deck for facility decontamination, line-listing, presumptive prophylaxis and surveillance to ensure public health safety and security, she added.
She assured that all hands were on deck to ensure rapid containment of the outbreak.There was therefore no cause for alarm as all cases were being managed with expertise according to the standard protocol for containment.
She said: "I will continue to reiterate that in view of the prevailing upsurge of Lassa fever cases in the country, all health service centres have been advised to maintain simple triage system for all patients and uphold standard infection prevention principles required for service delivery. The public is further advised to continue all necessary preventive measures under the circumstances.
Atata further explained that it was important to note that Lassa fever was an acute Viral Hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus. The reservoir of the virus, she said, was the Multi-Mammate Rat and transmission could be from rodents-to-humans and also by ingestion of food and materials contaminated by infected rodent excreta or urine.
Also, the acting permanent secretary stated that it could also be transmitted from human-to-human by direct contact with infected blood, tissues, secretions or excretions of infected humans.
"Consequently, the general public is enjoined to promote good 'community hygiene' to prevent rodents from entering homes.