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Lassa fever: Lagos suburb under surveillance till further notice

17 January 2016, 07:27

Lagos - The Lagos State Government (LASG) on Saturday said that it had placed under surveillance Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro, a Lagos suburb, where the patient with the first Lassa fever virus case was first admitted.

This is contained in a statement released by Dr Jide Idris, the Lagos State commissioner for Health and made available to the media.

"Ahmmadiyyah Hospital where the first case of the disease in Lagos was reported is now under surveillance and there will be no service delivery in the facility until further notice," he said.

Idris added that the 15 in-patients and other 25 health workers in the facility were being monitored.

The commissioner in the statement confirmed the deadly disease purportedly contacted by a 25-year- old, male, undergraduate student of the Ahmadu Bello University,(ABU) Zaria in Kaduna State.

The media, reports that Lassa fever is a zoonotic virus, transmitted when a human comes into contact with an infected rat’s feces, urine, or the bodily fluids of an infected human.

Idris said that the Lassa fever case was the first occurrence in the state claiming that the government was doing its best to curtail its spread.

Also Read: Lassa Fever: 3 dead, 200 under observation in Rivers State

"In the wake of reported cases of Lassa fever in some States of Nigeria, the Lagos State Government has confirmed the occurrence of the first case of Lassa fever in the State."

"The patient; a 25 year old, male, undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State was reported to have fallen ill after he arrived Lagos."

"The patient was taken to Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro on January 9, 2016, with complaint of fever, sore throats and difficulty in swallowing."

"He was subsequently placed on admission for six days and was thereafter referred by the private hospital to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on January 14, 2016,"he said.

Idris, further explained that LUTH on January 15, 2016 confirmed that the patient had contacted Lassa fever and the hospital was managing the case and the patient’s condition stable.

"In view of this new development, the Lagos State Government has called on residents of the State to be calm."

"This we are saying in assurance that both the State and Federal Governments are doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa virus."

Also Read: Another Lassa fever case reported in Oyo State

"This we are doing in line with international standards, the contacts of the patient are being tracked for follow-up; Drugs and other materials have also been prepositioned at our designated facilities," he said.

Idris stated that isolation centres had been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases.

He also urged its citizens to be alert and informed government if suspected of any case.

"The Mainland Hospital and all other General Hospitals have been placed on the alert where the anti-viral drugs for the management of cases are available."

"Ambulances have been dedicated to respond to referral and transportation of cases."

"Also airing of jingles on Lassa fever on electronic media and the distribution of factsheets on Lassa fever by the Medical Directors of LASUTH and 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State."

"Distributions are also made to Medical Officers of Health in all the 57 LGAs/LCDAs, all other agencies of the Ministry and AGPMPN for circulation to all health workers in their facilities," he said. Idris, also said that there would be a reactivation of isolation wards in LASUTH and 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State for isolation of any suspected case.

"There will be prepositioning of PPEs in all 26 General Hospitals for use by health workers with 6,750 PPEs reserve at Mainland Hospital, Yaba."

"The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) in all the LGAs in the state have been sensitized on Lassa fever to enhance early detection and prompt reporting of cases."

"Creation of awareness on Lassa fever by the health educators in the 57 LGAs/LCDAs."

Also Read: Foundation aims to control Lassa spread among mothers

The state health educator would commence sensitisation on Lassa fever for Iyaloja General of Nigeria and market leaders in Lagos state, he said.

"Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Virology Reference Laboratory, College of Medicine University of Lagos and World Health Organisation, Lagos in prevention and control of the disease," he said.

On how to avoid contacting Lassa fever, Idris said that the public should stay away from rats, avoid eating it and report any persistent fever to the nearest public health facility.

"Members of the public should avoid 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 highest risk include health workers, families and friends of an infected person in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them."

"Though Lassa fever and Ebola Virus Disease belong to the same Viral Haemorrhagic Fever group, Lassa Fever is milder and can be treated and cured if detected early," he said.

Idris however urged to watch out for the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever which typically could occur within 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus.

"Early symptoms of the disease 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. Public are also advised to suspect Lassa fever in persons with the above symptoms."

"They should also provide history of contact with an infected person or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed cases,’’ he said.



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