Two weeks ago, the state government had announced that measles immunisation would be conducted between January 28 and February 1, 2016.
But the latest directive signified the severity of the condition in the state and the determination of the state government to quickly arrest the ugly trend.
The source said: “The state Ministry of Health will begin vaccination against measles on January 19, 2016 instead of the earlier scheduled date of January 28, 2016. This is informed by the death of five people because of the disease. The state is committed to safe guard the life of the citizens, which informed the directive to begin the vaccination ahead of time.”
The state Health Educator, Oluwatoyin Olawoyin, had earlier said the exercise would target children from nine months to 59 months and that 2.5 million children would be given the vaccine.
Olawoyin had said: “In 2015, 761 blood samples from children were taken to the laboratory as part of the state measles surveillance activity. We had 9.7 per cent of the number with negative result while 3.7 per cent tested positive to measles. The number of children who tested positive in 491 cases in 2014 was 2.2 per cent while in 2013, 15.3 per cent of 567 blood samples belonging to children tested positive to it.”
According to the state government, the exercise will be conducted with support from the World Health Organisation and it will involve 15,708 personnel grouped into 2,244 teams.
WHO Measles Campaign Consultant, Adamu Bello, said the rate of success in most vaccination was 85 per cent, with the rest would be subjected to a second chance.
In a related development, Premium Times Newspaper reports that the Lassa outbreak in Nigeria has killed two more people in Plateau state and spread to Ekiti state, south west Nigeria.
Lassa fever has claimed two more lives in Plateau, the state government confirmed on Monday in Jos, the state capital.
The state Commissioner for Health, Kuden Dayin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the victims died at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) on Saturday.
The latest development brings to three, the number of persons so far killed in the state, after the commissioner confirmed the death of one person at Ting village in Fombur District of Mangu local government area last week.
According to Mr. Dayin, relations, friends and health workers, who came in contact with the latest victims, have been placed under surveillance.
He also disclosed that 32 persons were currently under surveillance in Mangu, up from the 15 earlier placed under surveillance in that area last week.
The commissioner, however, said that none of the persons under surveillance had shown any positive sign of symptoms of the disease.
He commended the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation for supplying drugs to the state through the Centre for Disease Control.
He warned people against the consumption of rat meat.
Mr. Dayin advised residents to ensure personal and environmental hygiene to minimise the possibility of contacting the disease.
Meanwhile, the epidemic has spread to Ekiti State as a patient on admission at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, tested positive to the disease.
The state commissioner for Health, Olurotimi Ojo, confirmed the case in Ado Ekiti on Monday at a meeting on Lassa fever.
He said the female patient, a nursing student, had been quarantined at the hospital, while efforts were being made by medical experts to treat her.
According to him, the patient was earlier treated for malaria and typhoid fever with high profile antibiotics, but did not respond to treatment.
He said the situation had given room for suspicion and further diagnostic steps were taken, which revealed the patient had the disease.
“Over the weekend, the state confirmed a case of Lassa fever that is being managed at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti. The patient is stable and had commenced treatment.
“Immediately the patient was diagnosed and confirmed, the management began the process of contact tracing.
“Once you have an index case, there is tendency of having a primary case and possible spread and this could be dangerous.
“The doctors are handling the situation and monitoring the situation very closely. So, nobody has been quarantined after the contact tracing,” he said.
Mr. Ojo noted the state government had already prepared an isolated ward at Oba Adejugbe General Hospital, Ado Ekiti, even before the breakout of the disease in the state.
“However, the situation is being curtailed by the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation, through the office of the national centre for disease control,” Mr. Ojo said.
“The governor is also embarking on public and town-to-town sensitization on Lassa fever through the airing of jingles on the state broadcasting corporation and distribution of materials to the people,” he said.
He advised the people of the state to take precautionary measures and refrain from taking risks that could lead to further spread of the disease.