Dr Giyan Joshua-Ndom, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Keffi, has advised workers in the hospital and residents not to panic over Lassa fever outbreak.

Joshua-Ndom gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Keffi.

He spoke on the sidelines of a lecture entitled: “What You Need to Know about Lassa fever’’ organised for workers of the centre.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Iya, has confirmed that four persons have lost their lives to Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

Iya told journalists on Monday in Lafia that 16 suspected cases have been recorded in the state, out of which four were confirmed positive and all of them have died.

Joshua-Ndom said that the lecture was to sensitise the workers on the preventive measure against Lassa fever.

He said, “The lecture was organised in order to educate our staff on what Lassa fever is, its transmission mode, prevention and treatment.

“I want to use this medium to appeal to my workers, patients and members of the public to remain calm as necessary steps have been taken to avert the spread of the virus.

“Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness/fever caused by a single stranded RNA virus which belongs to arenaviridae family with the main reservoir as a multi-mammate rat.”

Joshua-Ndom said that human beings could be infected whenever they come in contact with the infected animals.

The medical director also advised the residents to promptly report to the nearest hospital or health centre any suspected case of Lassa fever for timely professional care.

Joshua-Ndom listed the common symptoms to include: “headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, rashes, severe malaria, typhoid fever, among others.”

The medical director also reiterated the commitment of the centre to continue to key into project that have direct bearing on the lives of the doctors, other medical workers and  Nigerians at large.

NAN reports that Lassa fever could be transmitted to human through contamination of broken skin via direct or indirect contact with infected rat excreta or urine on floors, home surfaces, in food or water.

Transmission is also possible where rats are caught and consumed as food.