Lassa fever: Skeptical attitude of locals frustrating our efforts –Dr Rilwanu

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Rukayat Akanbi, Bauchi

The Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed has attributed the recent increase in lassa fever death to skeptical attitude of some locals in the state who believe its either spiritual attack or witchcraft.

Dr. Rilwanu who disclosed this over the  weekend while briefing the press in his office, saying that lassa fever which the death toll recorded now 41 within four months is said to be deadly more than COVID-19.

He explained that some locals believe lassa fever is not existence but witchcraft and spiritual attack are responsible for the deaths. “When the head of a family dies and the wife and their children follow as result of lassa fever, they believe it is nothing but witchcraft.

He said between January and mid May, Lassa fever has killed 41 in Bauchi State. He added that victims of lassa fever are difficult to detect early. “We just recorded another two deaths  resulting from lassa fever. This has brought the total number of deaths as a result of lassa fever to 41 because we were having a total number of 39 initially.

He attributed the rising cases and deaths to skeptical attitude of the locals who believe lassa fever is not existence but witchcraft and spiritual attack are responsible for the deaths. “When the head of a family dies and the wife and their children follow as result of lassa fever, they believe it is nothing but witchcraft.

“Coronavirus has been with us since 23rd of March this year, however, we have only recorded three deaths as a result of the virus.

“In Coronavirus virus infection, if you get them early, you will find out that most of them are not dying, while in lassa fever, we always get them late. Until they have fever, they start bleeding from faeces which would already be too late.

“Now we have 41 people who have lost their lives due to lassa fever, but with Coronavirus, we have only three people who have lost their lives from March,” said Mohammed.

He further stressed that the state government has intensified training of staff from the agency on how to carry out effective spraying.

He added that the state government would be embarking on a massive spraying and decontamination of communities in order to combat lassa fever in the state.

Rilwanu however, urged residents to also contribute their own quota by always reporting any suspected case of Lassa fever in the state as early diagnosis and treatment could help patients recover.

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