Nigeria: Lassa Fever Outbreak - Resident Doctors to Partner Govt

Lassa fever public health advisory.
28 January 2019

In an effort to combat the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever across the country, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced plans to partners the federal Ministry of Health to bring the outbreak to a standstill.

The association and it's affiliates members and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the response, including epidemiological investigation, surveillance, logistics, case management, communications and community engagement.

According to a statement jointly signed by its national president, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa and secretary general, Dr Anthony Ude on Monday and made available to LEADERSHIP, it stated that the recent resurgence in number of reported cases through survalinace activities on Lassa Fever infection currently ravaging eight states, with confirmed cases is very worrisome.

The statement stressed that from 1st -13th January, 2019, a total of 172 suspected cases have been reported.

It reads in part: "Lassa fever is a viral illness caused by the Lassa Fever virus. It is predominantly a Disease transmitted directly to humans through contact with infected multimammate Rat , it's urine and feaces or indirectly through contact with household items, food which are contaminated with rodents saliva, blood, graces ,urine and Person to person contact. The Disease is endemic in West Africa and occurs in outbreaks periodically in certain parts of Nigeria.when promptly recognized and diagnosed it is treatable, and Nigeria has active dedicated treatments centers,spread across the country.

"Lassa Fever infection shares similar symptoms with so many common illness like malaria and Enteric fever which includes Fever, Body pains, Headache, convulsion, Difficulty with breathing, Body pains , Diarrhea etc. The hallmark is bleeding which can present as conjunctiva injection, vomiting blood, urinating blood, coughing blood ,bleeding from puncture sites etc.Many positive individuals do not bleed, thus the need for evaluation in an appropriate health facility is sacrosanct." it stated.

According to the Nigerian centre of Disease control In the reporting Week 02 (January 07 - 13, 2019) about Thirty-five new confirmed cases were reported from Edo(12), Ondo(12), Bauchi(3), FCT(1), Ebonyi(5), Plateau(1) and Taraba(1) States with eight new deaths in Ondo(3), Edo(1), Ebonyi(1), Plateau(1) FCT(1) and Taraba(1).

"Why we remain dedicated toward mitigating morbidity and mortality, we urge the general public to present to reputatable Health facilities to seek medical care and resit the urge of self prescription. We also enjoin members of the Public to focus on prevention by practicing good personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation. Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households, and other measures to discourage Rodents from entering homes. Hand washing should be practiced frequently. The public is also advised to avoid bush burning.

"Health care worker are urged as always to adhere to Infection prevention and control protocols always .The practice of Hand hygiene,Use of personal protective equipment (PPE),Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette,Safe injection practice,Decontamination of reusable medical equipment as well as prompt referral are invaluable.

"While we call for adequate provision of required safety materials and supplies to all health care facilities ,The National Association of Residents Doctors remains committed to supporting the efforts of government and public health trust teams to prevent and respond to public health threats," it concludes.

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