AFCON Qualifier: NFF dismisses Lassa fever scare ahead of Nigeria v Sierra Leone

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has allayed fears over the spread of the dreaded Lassa fever from the Sierra Leone contingent when the Super Eagles battle with the Leone Stars in a Cameroun 2021 African Nations Cup qualifier in Asaba next month.

Nigeria has been battling with the Lassa Fever scourge since January, and some football fans recently raised the alarm that the Sierra Leonean contingent could pose a danger to the country seeing as majority of the Nigerian squad are foreign based.

The Guardian’s investigation reveals that in November 24, 2019, a Dutch doctor contacted the fever in Sierra Leone and died after several moves to revive him.

The doctor was flown home after being affected in the Northern town of Masanga, an area previously known to have been affected by the virus in Sierra Leone. Another doctor infected by the virus is currently undergoing treatment in the West African country.

Described as a cousin to Ebola by health experts, Lassa Fever is endemic in Eastern Sierra Leone, but cases have also been reported in Northern and Southern parts of the country in the last five years.

Based on this report, some football followers have charged the NFF to put measures on ground early enough to ensure the Sierra Leonean contingents is screened before being allowed to enter the country.

They also advised that adequate safety measures should be on ground to protect Nigerian players and officials from contacting the Lassa Fever virus when they travel to Free Town for the return leg of the tie.

Reacting, NFF Secretary General, Mohammed Sanusi, said that various agencies of government saddled with the responsibility of curtailing diseases in the country would be on guard to screen and conduct tests when the Eagles’ opponents arrive in the country.

“This information is good because the country and the world is trying to curtail and eradicate deadly diseases in the country.

“I believe the Health Ministry and the Immigration Department are doing their job to handle these challenges.

“The NFF would also put measures in place to guide against the issues raised to avoid any causality. We will inform all agencies involved when the time for the AFCON qualifier approaches,” he said.

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