By Lucky Isibor,
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged chairmen of local government areas in the state to intensify the campaign on environmental sanitation and other efforts geared at mitigating resurgence of Lassa Fever in the state.
Obaseki gave the charge in Benin City, as a team of scientists working with staff of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, have made a breakthrough with a “rapid portable genomic sequencing technology to identify viruses without prior knowledge of the cause of the disease.”
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the governor said that the state government has already rolled out a campaign to sensitise the public on how to prevent the spread of Lassa Fever.
He said that the state government has mobilised relevant health agencies and is working closely with a delegation of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), to reduce the chances of a resurgence of the ailment.
According to him, “It is no news that we are susceptible to Lassa Fever in some parts of the state, due to a number of factors. The risk of resurgence in Nigeria is high in the dry season, as people engage in bush burning.
“However, the Edo state government has commenced an elaborate sensitisation campaign to ensure that the people are better informed on what can cause or spread Lassa Fever this season. We are aware of the resurgence in other states and are committed to stamp out the disease from our state.
“This is why the governor is calling on the chairmen of local government areas, who are closest to the people to ensure that this message gets to our people everywhere. They are to mobilise information units in their areas to take the message of how to prevent the disease to remote parts of the state.”
Meanwhile, a team of scientists working with staff of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, have made a breakthrough with a “rapid portable genomic sequencing technology to identify viruses without prior knowledge of the cause of the disease.”
The research led by scientists from Public Health England (UK), the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine, Germany, in collaboration with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), has been described as a major breakthrough in Lassa Fever diagnosis.
The breakthrough is contained in a report published in the journal, Science. The research was conducted during the 2018 Lassa Fever epidemic in Nigeria.
The Chief Medical Director of ISTH, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbeni, was quoted as saying “The result of the sequencing reassured managing Clinicians in ISTH, the main centre for the diagnosis and treatment of Lassa Fever in Nigeria.
“I would like to congratulate the team for the feat. The institution is very willing to collaborate further to ensure that on-site sequencing is a regular feature of its Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control.”