health officials in Gombe State on Wednesday, he said five pupils and a teacher had died of Lassa fever at an Almajiri school in the Kaltungo local government area of the state
The Almajiri education system is a form of Islamic education practiced in northern Nigeria, where young children leave their homes to live with Islamic scholars to learn about religion.
However, the system has been heavily criticized for allowing students to roam the streets of northern Nigerian cities without guardians or care, begging and committing criminal acts.
Kaltungo Primary Health Care coordinator Comfort Danlami said 76 suspected cases of Lassa fever were also recorded in the Dogon Ruwa ward in the council area where the Almajiri school is located.
According to the official, the outbreak at the Almajiri school occurred during the Easter holiday.
Ms. Dalami revealed this during a promotional visit by a team from the Gombe State Contributory Health Care Management Agency (GoHealth) to the palace of Emir of Kaltungo, Sale Muhammed, on Wednesday.
“The incident started when five students from the almajiri school fell ill and were taken to a hospital,” he said. “At first, they were suspected of having meningitis, but when their samples were taken and examined, it was confirmed to be Lassa fever.”
“All five suspected cases were confirmed dead, while their teacher who was caring for them fell ill later after his death on Sunday and was confirmed to be Lassa Fever and died that same day, making the number of deaths let it be six,” said Ms. Danlami. .
She said her team is educating community members on how to spot and prevent outbreaks of the disease. She added that a team of epidemiologists has embarked on tracing suspected cases and people have been in contact with confirmed cases in and around the Dogon Ruwa community.
He said one confirmed case is currently receiving treatment and samples from another 76 suspected cases are being tested at the state laboratory.
He added that the state government has set up an isolation center where confirmed and suspected cases are treated in the local government.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease (excessive bleeding) that is transmitted to humans through contact with food, household items contaminated by infected rodents, or contaminated people.
Symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, chest pain, and, in severe cases, unexplained bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.
There have been relentless outbreaks of Lassa fever in the country despite government promises to control the spread of the disease.