JOS, Nigeria, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Two people lost their lives on Wednesday in a recent outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria's middle-belt Plateau State, according to an official.
Plateau State Commissioner for Health Fom Dawak told reporters in Jos, the state capital, that a woman and a man died while receiving treatments at the state-run Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and Vom Christian Hospital respectively.
"Also, two other persons are currently on admission at the Vom Christian Hospital and are responding to treatment on Lassa fever, " the state official said, adding the Ministry of Health had despatched epidemiologists to popularize knowledge on how to contain the disease.
There is a high possibility of treatment and survival for early diagnosis, he said.
The Lassa virus is usually transmitted when the saliva, urine and excreta of the multi-mammalian rats come in contact with humans through their food or water.
Dawak said another symptom of the deadly fever is bleeding, which is why it is usually referred to as haemorrhagic fever associated with bleeding through the nose, gums and urine.
"Aside bleeding, people should watch out for the general symptoms of ill-health like headaches and fever," he added.
In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms with malaria, the commissioner for health cum medical doctor noted.
"The symptoms could also vary, but we always use proper test to ensure that the patient is adequately treated," he said, advising local residents to always cover their food and water properly, as well as pay attention to clean surroundings.
When people have clean and less clustered surroundings so as to keep rats away, possibility of contacting the fever would be lower, he said.
In 2012, Lassa fever claimed more than 40 lives in 12 states across the West African country. For this reason, the Nigerian government set up a Lassa Fever Rapid Response Committee to investigate, prevent and control outbreaks of the disease.