Lagos Government Calls For Calm As It Records First Case Of Lassa Fever
Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has called on the state residents to be calm and not panic
In a statement made available to the public on Wednesday, February 18, 2020, Abayomi confirmed that a Lassa fever patient is currently in isolation at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
While noting that the situation is under control, the commissioner said the Lagos government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is doing 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.”
Abayomi however stressed the need for members of the public to ensure and maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times, which he explained is part of the prevention and control measures against the spread of the disease in the state.
Abayomi said the prevention and control of the disease remained a shared responsibility of all citizens, urging 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.
“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 sensitisation activities intensified,”
The Commissioner also advised health workers, both in the public and private hospitals in the state, to ensure that they observe universal safety precautions and comply with infection prevention and control measures when dealing with patients, stressing that appropriate personal protective equipment like hand gloves, face-masks, goggles and overalls must be worn when attending to cases.
“Hands must be washed often with soap and 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.”
Abayomi further stated that a case of Lassa Fever should be suspected in any person with persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever or bleeding from the body surface.
According to the NCDC, the death toll from Lassa fever in Nigeria has risen to 70 as confirmed cases shot up to 1,708.
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