Nigeria: Lagos Confirms First Case of Lassa Fever, Isolates Patient

A transmission electron micrograph of a number of Lassa virus virions adjacent to some cell debris. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, causes Lassa fever.
20 February 2020

The Lagos State Government has confirmed a case of Lassa fever outbreak in the state, saying the patient has been isolated in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idia-Araba.

It said it had placed 63 persons under close monitoring over concerns that they may have come in contact with a Lassa fever patient.

The Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, in a statement issued yesterday, said the situation was under control and that residents have nothing to fear.

"We have identified 63 of the persons he may have been in contact with since his arrival from Ebonyi State into Lagos, Lagos Law School, the Nigeria Air Force Clinic and LUTH.

"They are being monitored. If they develop any symptom of Lassa fever, we will pick them up early and isolate them so that we can break the cycle of transmission," Abayomi was quoted to have said.

He added that the state government, in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), was doing everything possible to control the spread of the disease.

He said: "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.

"There is 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."

According to him, the prevention and control of the disease remain a shared responsibility of all citizens through observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

The commissioner urged residents to store household refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents.

Abayomi advised the residents to dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.

He added that it is by so doing that a habitable and conducive environment and a disease-free state can be achieved.

"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 sensitisation activities intensified," Abayomi said.

Before Lagos recorded its first case of Lassa Fever, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had last month recorded a total of 82 cases of Lassa fever, including 14 deaths in eight states.

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