A university in Ondo State has been shut down after five fresh cases of Lassa Fever were confirmed on Wednesday.
A report had emerged three weeks ago that a student of Achievers University, Owo, was infected with the disease and hospitalised at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo.
This led to tension in Owo town – which has the higher cases leading to the closure of Achievers University – after it was learnt that 2 persons contracted the fever in Akoko South West council and three in Owo council areas of the state.
Speaking on the development, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi, while addressing pressmen at the campus, refuted allegations that there were multiple cases, insisting that the institution only recorded one case.
He, however, noted that the victim, who must have contracted it from her residence off campus, had been treated at the FMC in Owo and should be discharged soon.
Due to the confirmed case, Ibiyemi said the management had declared a three-week break, making it mandatory for students to present certificates of medical fitness from a recognized government institution on resumption.
He said: “The Management of Achievers University, Owo takes the overall well-being of its staff and students seriously. Nothing is, therefore, spared to ensure this. Apart from the University health centre, which is empowered to cater for the health of students and staff promptly, the University has a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, to which staff and students are referred when the need arises.”
“For a fact, a student of the University reported at the University health centre for treatment. However, she was not responding to treatment, and as usual, had to be referred to the FMC, where she was diagnosed of having Lassa fever symptoms. She has since stabilised, and will be discharged anytime soon.
“Investigation carried out by the University revealed that the affected student must have contracted the disease from outside the university premises as none of her roommates and friends, who have been screened, developed symptoms of the ailment.
“So, what we have in the university is an isolated case of Lassa fever, not an outbreak as being rumoured.”
He said to allay the fears of the parents who had heard the rumour and had been calling the university to ascertain its veracity, the school’s management had decided to give the students a three-week mid-semester break as from June 20.
“This will afford the agitated parents to see their children and rest assured that they are safe and sound.”
“The break will also enable the university to carry out necessary precaution measures before the students resume on Sunday, 9th July, 2017,” the VC added.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Taiye Oni, has lamented that the outbreak of the disease came at an unexpected time.
“This is not the usual time it occurs in Ondo State. It usually occurs during the dry season and limited to Owo and Ose,” he said.