Following reported cases of outbreaks of Lassa fever in some parts of the country, Lagos State Government has alerted the residents on the need to take precautionary measures to avert the disease in the state.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, also advised members of the public to ensure and maintain adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times.
Idris counselled the residents to "avoid contact with rats; cover your food and water properly; cook all your food thoroughly, as well as block all rat hideouts and holes through which rats can enter the house."
The commissioner also stressed the importance of storing grains and other dried food items in containers with covers, properly disposing of refuse, maintaining adequate sanitation, as well as keeping pets like cats in the house.
Idris explained that Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus that is associated with persistent high fever adding that as the disease progresses into a severe form, the patient begin to develop facial swelling, fluid in the chest, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina and the gut, low blood pressure, shock, disorientation, coma and kidney and liver failure.
According to him, other usual symptoms include general weakness, malaise headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrheal, and vomiting.
"Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus and associated with persistent high fever. It is spread by exposure to and eating of foods contaminated with rat dropping or urine. It is also spread by direct contact with the blood, urine, faces or other bodily secretions of person with Lassa fever," he added.
He urged members of the public to report the case of anybody with the above symptoms or persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever to the nearest health facility in the state.
The Commissioner noted that though Lagos State is not in the Lassa fever belt region, a lot of people migrate to Lagos from different parts of the country, including those living in Lassa fever prone belt regions.