Gov Ortom, commissioner, BSUTH boss differ on Lassa fever outbreak
By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, his Health Commissioner, Dr. Cecilia Ojabo and the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Prof. Orkugah Malu, yesterday disagreed over the purported outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.
Speaking to reporters yesterday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, the Commissioner for Health stated that the state at the moment was free of the viral disease.
She explained that the only person admitted at the BSUTH, Makurdi, manifested symptoms similar to that of Lassa fever but that the final report from the victim’s blood sample proved negative.
Dr. Ojabo said: “We were lucky to have gotten blood sample from the sick person before he passed on, but we are privileged to tell you that the report was negative of Lassa fever.”
She further revealed that the deceased attended a marriage ceremony in neighbouring Nasarawa state where Lassa fever had been reported few days before he developed the sickness.
Also speaking on the issue, the CMD, of the BSUTH, Prof. Orkugah Malu, told Vanguard that the purported claim of an outbreak of the disease in the state is “a false alarm.”
Prof. Malu who corroborated the statement of the Health Commissioner insisted that the state was free of the disease.
However, in a sharp disagreement with his Health Commissioner and the BSUTH CMD, Governor Samuel Ortom told State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday that one person had contracted the deadly disease in the state.
The disclosure by the Governor has created palpable fear amongst residents of Benue State following the death of the victim.