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Nigerian soldier dies of Lassa fever

A Nigerian soldier has been confirmed dead, possibly from Lassa fever.

According to the army, the soldier was attached to 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, Rukuba Barrack, Jos.

The spokesperson of the division, Ikechukwu Stephen, confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, saying the deceased died at Bingham University Hospital Jankwano, Jos.

According to Mr Stephen, a major, the senior non-commissioned officer was first admitted at the division’s hospital before he was referred to Bingham Hospital where he died.

Mr Stephen did not disclose the name of the affected soldier but later released a statement explaining the death,

“The Headquarters, 3 Division wishes to inform the general public that a male senior non- commissioned officer of the Division was admitted and was being managed for resistant malaria at the 3 Div Hospital after returning from Kogi State where he went for his father’s burial.

“Consequently, the soldier was managed but there was no significant improvement which resulted to him being referred to Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano) Jos for further management.

“Unfortunately the soldier died on 15 January 2019, 4 days after his case was reported. Available medical information confirmed that the soldier may have died of LASSA Fever.

“While investigation is ongoing to unravel all circumstances that led to the soldier’s death, the Division has taken the following measures.

“Contact Tracing and Monitoring for both primary and secondary contacts in collaboration with Representatives of World Health Organization (WHO), Medical Personnel of Bingham University Teaching Hospital and 3 Division Medical Services and Hospital.

“Sensitization for residents of Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, the host community, and the general public has also commenced, ” the statement added.

“The General Officer Commanding has further directed that the entire Maxwell Khobe Cantonment be fumigated,” the spokesperson added.

The soldier’s death occurs at a time Nigeria is hosting global health experts on how to tackle Lassa fever.

The weekly epidemiological report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease control indicates that seven people have died this year from 25 confirmed cases of the disease in seven states including Abuja.

Lassa fever is a deadly disease caused by a virus carried in the urine or faeces of infected rat. The disease is often transmitted through rodents to human or human to human transmission.

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