Nigeria: Lassa Fever Spreads to Lagos

Lassa fever public health advisory.
19 February 2020

Lagos has recorded a case of Lassa fever currently raging in 19 other states in the country. Announcing the development on Wednesday morning, the State

Commissioner for Health Prof, Akin Abayomi confirmed that the patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.

Abayomi who assured that the situation is under control called for calm among the residents said there was no cause for panic as the State government in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, 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 ", he said.

Abayomi reiterated the need for 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.

He said the prevention and control of the disease remains a shared responsibility of all citizens through the observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

"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.

"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 said 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.

"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.

The Commissioner urged health workers as well as citizens to report suspected cases 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.

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