Friday, January 8, 2016 12:58 am
The Lagos State Government has alerted the public on the outbreak of the deadly Lassa Fever in some states of the nation and called for high hygiene standard among the populace.
The disease has so far broken out in Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Kano and Rivers States, leaving many dead and others hospitalized.
A statement from the Directorate of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health, said there was the need for Lagosians to be appropriately informed so as to protect their lives and the lives of others around them.
The statement issued by Adeola Salako, Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Health said there was need for Lagosians to embrace proper hygiene to avert the outbreak of the disease in Lagos.
“Lassa fever is caused by infection with the Lassa virus which is spread by rats that live in large numbers in West, Central, and East Africa. They carry the virus in their urine and faeces and live in homes and areas where food is stored.
“The disease can be contacted by ingestion of foods and drinks contaminated by the saliva, urine and faeces of infected rats; catching and preparing infected rats as food, inhaling tiny particles in the air contaminated with infected rat urine or droppings, direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, through mucous membranes, like eyes, nose, or mouth.
“Those at the highest risk include health workers, families and friends of an infected person in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them. Early symptoms of the disease which occur within three weeks of coming in contact with the virus include fever, headache, chills, stooling, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Late symptoms, include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Lassa fever could be suspected in persons who present with above symptoms with a positive history of being in contact with a suspected or infected person or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person.
The government said Lassa fever could be treated as antiviral drugs had been used successfully to treat the fever, saying that the earlier a person presents, the better the outcome of treatment.
To prevent Lassa fever, the government said the public must avoid contact between rats and human beings, observe good personal hygiene, including hand washing with soap and running water regularly; dispose of waste properly and clean the environment so that rats are not attracted and store foods in rat proof containers and cook all foods thoroughly before eating.
Others are discouraging rodents from entering the house by blocking all possible entry points, while food manufacturers and handlers should not spread food where rats could have access to them.
“The public should also report any cases of above symptoms or persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever to the nearest health centre. All fluids from an infected person are extremely dangerous. Health workers are also advised to be at alert, wear personal protective equipment, observe universal basic precautions, nurse suspected cases in isolation and report same to the LGA or Ministry of Health immediately,” it said.