Closer to home than even the ongoing worldwide health epidemic of Coronavirus is the Lassa fever. A Lassa fever outbreak has been wrecking havoc within the country for some time and has claimed the lives of dozens following its outbreak that has spread through 19 states, after Lagos recorded its first case.
The Lagos state government says the state has recorded its first case of Lassa fever. In a statement released on Wednesday February 19th, the state Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, confirmed that a patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Abayomi called on residents to be calm and not panic as the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will do everything possible to control the spread of the disease in the state.
“The Ministry of Health through Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate is currently carrying out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected in line with international standards while we beef up our other surveillance strategies.”
Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, bleeding and muscle pains. (Source: Wikipedia). The disease is spread by rats.
The Commissioner stressed the need for members of the public to ensure and maintain an adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of the disease in the state.
“Members of the public are further advised to avoid contact with rats, to always cover their food and water properly, cook all their food thoroughly, as well as block all holes in the septic tanks and holes through which rats can enter the house and clear rat hideouts within the premises.
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”
the commissioner said.
Abayomi noted that the prevention and control of the disease remained a shared responsibility of all citizens through the observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.
He urged residents to store house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents; dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.