Ebonyi State Shuts Down Schools As Lassa Fever Outbreak Kills Two in the State

Following the outbreak of Lassa Fever, the Ebonyi State Government has shut down all private, government and mission schools in the state to curb the spread of the disease.

According to a Leadership report, the outbreak of Lassa Fever has claimed the lives of two health workers, a nurse and a doctor, who contracted the disease from their patients, while many are left in critical conditions at the Irua Specialist Hospital.

The State Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Eke who made the announcement to newsmen in Abakaliki said that the decision was taken following a mother and her child who tested positive to the disease yesterday.

Prof. Eke said that to ensure the safety of the lives of school children in the state, the schools will remain closed till Friday next week and warned parents to be mindful of who they relate with and ensure that they keep their environment clean.

READ ALSO: How Lassa Fever Killed Nursing Student in Anambra

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa. The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

Signs and symptoms of Lassa Fever

This typically occur 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. For the majority of Lassa fever virus infections (approximately 80%), symptoms are mild and are undiagnosed.

Mild symptoms include: slight fever, general malaise and weakness, and headache.

Severe symptoms include: hemorrhaging (in gums, eyes, or nose, as examples), respiratory distress, repeated vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen, and shock.

Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis. Death may occur within two weeks after symptom onset due to multi-organ failure.

READ ALSO: LASSA FEVER: Medical & Health Workers Union Warns Against Consuming Soaked Garri

Prevention

1. Primary transmission of the Lassa virus from its host to humans can be prevented by avoiding contact with Mastomys rodents, especially in the geographic regions where outbreaks occur.

2. Putting food away in rodent-proof containers and keeping the home clean help to discourage rodents from entering homes.

3. Do not eat these rodents as food.

4. Setting traps in and around homes can help reduce rodent populations.

5. Educating people who live in high-risk areas, so be sure to share this.

6. Practise good personal hygiene. Wash hands with soap and water and use sanitisers.

7. Family members should always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.

8. Disposing of garbage far from the home as this attracts rats.

9.  Maintaining a very clean household.

10. Avoiding contact with an infected person.

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“Ebonyi State Shuts Down Schools As Lassa Fever Outbreak Kills Two in the State”

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