By Oluwafunke Ishola
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday confirmed a case of Lassa fever outbreak in the state, saying the patient has been isolated.
Prof. Akin Abayomi, the State Commissioner for Health, who made this known in a statement, said that the patient was currently in isolation ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lassa fever has been ravaging in over 19 states in the country.
Abayomi, who did not provide details about the patient and location, reassured Lagos residents that the situation was under control, advising them not to panic over the situation.
He said that the state government, in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was working assiduously to stem the spread of the disease in the 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 the international standards, while we beef up our other surveillance strategies,“ he said.
Outlining strategies put in place by the state to control the disease, Abayomi explained that the state government was maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance officers at the local government level to prevent the spread of the disease.
“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.
The commissioner advised health workers, both in the public and private hospitals in the state to ensure that they observe universal safety precautions, comply with infection prevention and control measures when dealing with patients.
He stressed 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 sanitisers 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 advised.
He said that 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.
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.
He stressed that the prevention and control of the disease remains 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 house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dustbins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents.
He advised that refuse should be disposed properly at designated dump sites, and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.
“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.
“They should as well 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.
Abayomi noted that doing so would result in a habitable, conducive and a disease-free state.
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.
He reassured residents that vigilance levels was high and government putting more measures in place to safeguard the state. (NAN)