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Ebonyi schools closed for ‘seven schooldays’ over Lassa Fever outbreak

 

Public primary and secondary schools in Ebonyi State have been closed down for “seven school days” as part of efforts to curb the spread of Lassa fever in the state.

John Eke, Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, said this during an interview with NAN in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Thursday.

He said although Lassa fever was not yet an epidemic in the state, proactive measures needed to be taken to ensure things did not get out of hand.

“First of all, I want to inform you that the issue of the outbreak of the Lassa disease is not in alarming rate, and what we have done is to ensure that we effectively put the spread under control,” Eke said.

“Again, yesterday, a woman was diagnosed positive of the virus and this patient has her children in schools.

“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.

“The schools will remain shut for seven school days to enable us monitor the situation and we appeal to parents, guardians and school authorities to comply with the directive.”

Reports also have it that the National Obstetric Fistula Centre (NOFIC) in Abakaliki has evacuated its patients following a Lassa fever outbreak at the nearby Virology Centre of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA).

Both institutions are located inside the premises of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, with a wall separating them.

Two doctors and a nurse who worked at FETHA had died in the Lassa fever outbreak, and another is reportedly in critical condition at Lassa Fever Specialist Hospital, in Irua, Edo State.

“You know this hospital is located beside this virology centre and some of the patients, including the deceased, were taken to the virology centre before being evacuated to Irua Specialist Hospital where some of them died early this week,” Premium Times quoted an unnamed FETHA staff as saying.

“So, our management feels it is very imperative to evacuate all our patients out of our hospital even though the virology centre has been fumigated.”

Rita Nwojiji, spokesman of NOFIC, confirmed the evacuation of patients, saying that the facility would be fumigated, beginning from Thursday “and after that it will take about four days before we can make use of the place”.

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