Lassa Fever Breaks Out in Lagos

Lagos State has officially recorded a break out of Lassa Fever just as the infection rates in the country climbed to 1708 with 70 deaths in 26 States.

Commissioner for Health Professor Akin abayomi in a message midnight, said the case was only just confirmed and patient isolated in a ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idiaraba.

How “Lassa” went from a small Nigerian town to a well-known Virus

The commissioner appealed to Lagos Residence to be calm and not panic as efforts are already in place to ensure the disease is not spread but contained within shortest possible time.

Abayomi assured that the Lagos State Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Nigeria centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate “to carry out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected in line with international standards while we beef up our other surveillance strategies”.

The Commissioner called for more measures by residence to ensure cleanliness as well  maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of Lassa Fever disease.

Prof. Abayomi also urged residents to store household refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents.

He charged residence to always dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.

The commissioner maintained that it is only by so doing that a habitable and conducive environment, and a disease-free State can be achieved.

“Members of the public are advised to avoid contact with rats, always cover their food & water properly, cook all their food thoroughly, block all holes in the septic tanks & holes through which rats can enter the house and clear rat hideouts within the premises”, said Abayomi.

Maintaining that the prevention and control of the disease remains a shared responsibility of all citizens through observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

As part of measure of preparedness for any disease outbreak in Lagos the commissioner said, “Isolation wards have been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases, drugs and other materials have also been prepositioned at designated facilities while health workers have been placed on red alert and community sensitization activities intensified”.

He also pleaded with medical and health workers to always maintain high standards of universal safety precautions as well as comply with infection prevention and control measures when dealing with all patients.

Government he assures has provided sufficient protective wears like hand gloves, face masks, goggles which must be worn at all times when treating suspected cases of infectious diseases like Lassa Fever.

“Hands must be washed often with soap & running water or application of hand sanitizers after each contact with patients or contaminated materials and instruments must be autoclaved. Also hospital mattresses must be covered with plastic sheets to prevent contamination”, he added

Abayomi advised all health workers to immediately suspect a case of Lassa Fever in any person with persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever or bleeding from body surface.

All suspicious cases of infectious diseases such as Lassa Fever are advised to be reported by citizens immediately by reaching out to the nearest government approved health facility, the Ministry of Health or call the emergency operation centre lines – 08023169485, 08033565529 and 08052817243.

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