Nigeria: Schools shut over Lassa Fever threat
Prof. John Eke,Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education
Ebonyi, Nigeria. Jan. 18, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Authorities in Ebonyi State in the South-Eastern axis of Nigeria have closed down schools on Thursday to stop the spread of Lassa fever. Before the closure step was taken by the state government, no less than three persons including two doctors, were reported dead in the recent time, while new infections were discovered.
Prof. John Eke,Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, at a press conference said all schools would remain shut for the next seven days to allow the authorities to halt the spread of the dreaded communicable disease.
Eke informed that authorities did not waste time in closing down schools when a parent of some students tested positive of the virus.
“We believe that one of the best ways to handle the situation is to shut down our schools until we are sure that our pupils and students are safe and secured. And the schools will remain shut for seven schooldays to enable us monitor the situation. We appeal to parents, guardians and school authorities to comply with the directive,” Eke appealed.
Research revealed that the disease, Lassa Fever derived its name from a Nigerian village where the virus was first discovered in 1969. It is said to be a type of viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus traced to some rats. Experts say symptoms may include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, muscle pains and bleeding from the mouth or gastrointestinal tract.
The disease, according to reports, is usually initially spread to people through contact with the urine or faeces of an infected multimammate rat, while people to people spread occur via direct contact among them.
Reports from the Centre for Disease Control have it that Lassa Fever killed over a hundred people in Nigeria in 2016 alone while around 80 were confirmed dead of it in 2017.