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Oyo allays fears of Lassa fever outbreak

11 January 2016, 10:07

Ibadan - Oyo State Government has dismissed reports of an outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

Oyo had been listed alongside Bauchi, Edo, Kano, Nassarawa, Niger, Rivers and Taraba as having suffered an outbreak.

However, Oyo Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, said the three suspected cases reported and diagnosed at the University College Hospital (UCH) had no feature of the disease.

“Oyo State Ministry of Health has clarified that no single case of Lassa fever has been established in the state since last year when the first suspected case was subjected to clinical test at the federal ministry of health’s reference laboratory in Lagos,” Ladipo said.

He cautioned citizens of the state against consumption of rodents and to avoid contact with the blood, urine and feces of rats when killing them as a preventive measure against Lassa fever.

Also read: Suspected Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria

Ladipo added that an emergency preparedness team of stakeholders had met to prepare a response protocol in case of any outbreak of the disease.

Ladipo listed those in the team as the state’s ministries of health, information, environment, agriculture, State Hospitals’ Management Board, Red Cross and Red Crescent, UCH, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital and State Emergency Management Authority.

He said the state’s ministry of health had supplied ribavirin (the antiviral agent for Lassa fever treatment), as well as protective apparels to UCH to reduce contact between healthcare workers and potential cases.

Ladipo added that sensitisation of clinicians from the public and private sectors had been carried out to increase physicians’ index of suspected cases and the need for prompt referrals. Ladipo encouraged residents to take personal hygiene serious, with emphasis on periodic hands washing.

“Food items should preferably be kept in sealable containers to prevent contamination with urine or faeces of rodents. There is the need for proper personal and household management of refuse. Indiscriminate dumping of refuse should be avoided as these are potential breeding grounds for vermin.”

 Ladipo said eating of rodents should be avoided.

He advised residents with nonspecific symptoms such as fever, facial swelling, muscle fatigue, conjunctivitis and mucosal bleeding, as well as symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ache, constipation and difficulty in swallowing to report to health institutions.

- CAJ News


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