LAGOS – Lagos State Government has confirmed first case of Lassa Hemorrhagic fever which had been raging in over 19 States in the country, killing scores of persons.
The State Government added that the patients was discovered to have had high fever, which exceeded normal treatment.
Commissioner for Health Prof, Akin Abayomi who disclosed this on Wednesday, stated that the patient is currently isolated at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), to fasten treatment.
According to him, 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 body surface.
While assuring residents that the situation was under control, Abayomi urged residents not to panic that the State government in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have instituted strategies to prevent it spread in Lagos.
“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 added.
While further outlining strategies put in place by the State government to control the disease, the Commissioner explained that the Lagos State is maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance officers at local government level to prevent the spread of the disease in Lagos.
“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, however, stressed the need for residents to maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, saying, these are control measures to prevent anyone from contacting the disease.
He urged residents to store house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents; 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.
“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”, he said.
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.
The Commissioner urged health workers as well as citizens to report suspected case 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.