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Lagos State Government Confirms First Lassa Fever Case

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Lagos State Government has confirmed the first case in the city of the Lassa Hemorrhagic fever, generally called Lassa Fever.

The State Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi, confirmed this early hours of Wednesday (today), in a statement.

Prof. Abayomi affirmed that the patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

While noting the situation is under control, the Commissioner called on residents to be calm and not panic.

He assured the residents that state the government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, was doing everything possible to control the spread of the disease in the state.

Prof. Abayomi specified that the Ministry of Health through Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate are currently carrying out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected in line with International standards while the surveillance strategies are beef up.

However, the Commissioner stressed the need for members of the public to ensure and maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of preventive and control measures against the spread of the disease in the state.

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.

“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 propositioned at designated facilities while health workers have been placed on red alert and community sensitization activities intensified,” Abayomi said.

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, facemasks, 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,” he added.

He 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.

In the latest outbreak, Lassa Fever has been reported in over 19 states in the country.

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