Monday 11 January 2016

Lassa Fever Outbreak: Lagos State Govt calls for vigilance and personal hygiene

Lagos State Government
As part of efforts to prevent the spread of Lassa fever to Lagos State, the state government has called on its residents to avoid contact with rats and store foods in rat proof containers, as well as cook them properly before eating.

In a statement by the state Ministry of Health, it said residents should observe good personal hygiene, including hand washing with soap and running water regularly, adding that wastes must be disposed properly in other to discourage rodents from entering the house.

The statement which warned food manufacturers and handlers not to spread food where rats can have access to them, also noted that entrances properly locked would prevent rodents from passing through into the house.

“The public should also report any cases of symptoms or persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever to the nearest health centre as 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 nearest local government or the Ministry of Health immediately,” the statement reads.

The Ministry of Health also noted that the various ways the virus can be contracted include: 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, and direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, through mucous membranes, like eyes, nose, or mouth.

Lassa fever is caused by infection with the Lassa virus, which is spread by rats that live in large numbers, and are common in Africa. They carry the virus in their urine and faeces and live in homes and areas where food is stored.

Early symptoms of the disease which occur within three weeks of coming in contact with the virus include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, 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.

It would be recalled that there fave been recent outbreak of Lassa fever in some states in the country, such as Taraba, Niger, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Kano and Rivers States, leaving many dead and others hospitalised.

The state government also assured that residents Lassa fever can be treated. “Antiviral drugs have been used successfully to treat Lassa fever. The earlier a person presents, the better the outcome of treatment. For more information please contact the Directorate of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health on 08037170614, 08023169485,” the statement read.

Credit: ThisDay

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