Lassa Fever Hits Lagos Again

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Lagos State Government Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has on Wednesday confirmed that the second case of Lassa fever has been recorded since 2017, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba. Although, details about the patient and location was not disclosed.

Prof. Abayomi while announcing this lastest development said that the situation is under control, and also called on Lagosians to be calm and not panic. He added that the state is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is doing everything possible to control the spread of the disease in Lagos 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,“

The commissioner urged members of the public to ensure and maintain 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.”

While outlining strategies put in place by the State government to control the disease, the Commissioner explained that the Lagos State is maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance officers at local government level to prevent the spread of the disease in Lagos.

“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”, Abayomi noted.

The Commissioner 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”, Abayomi 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.

The Commissioner urged health workers as well as citizens to report suspected case or cases of the disease to the nearest government-approved health facility, the Ministry of Health or call the emergency operation centre lines – 08023169485, 08033565529 and 08052817243.

“I would like to reassure Lagosians that our vigilance levels are very high and we are putting more measures in place to safeguard the State”, Abayomi noted.

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