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Lassa Fever: Lagos records first case this season, urges calm

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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday morning said a case of Lassa Fever has been recorded and the patient quarantined at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

This is the first known case of the Hemorrhagic fever in Lagos since it’s outbreak in December that has left scores dead across 19 states in Nigeria.

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who made the disclosure, urged residents to be calm as the situation was under control.

The Commissioner said that the state government in 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 in Lagos.

He assured that the state government was maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance officers at 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,” said Abayomi in a statement by the Director of Public Health, Tunbosun Ogunbamwo.

“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.

He urged residents to maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of the disease in Lagos.

According to Abayomi, prevention and control of the disease was a shared responsibility of all citizens, appealing that food items should be stored in rodent-proof containers and  household refuse discarded in sanitary bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats.

He emphasised the need for proper disposal of waste at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system.

“The public is further advised to avoid contact with rats, to always cover their food and water properly, cook all their food thoroughly, block all holes in the septic tanks and holes through which rats can enter the house as well as clear rat hideouts within the premises,” he said.

To health workers at public and private facilities, Abayomi stressed the need to observe universal safety precautions, comply with infection prevention and control measures when dealing with patients, adding 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. Contaminated materials and instruments must be autoclaved. Also hospital mattresses must be covered with plastic sheets to prevent contamination,” Abayomi said.

He stated that a case of Lassa Fever should be suspected in any person with persistent high fever that defies standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever or bleeding from body surface, appealing that such symptoms be reported to the nearest government approved health facility or through these emergency operation centre lines- 08023169485, 08033565529 and 08052817243.

“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 said.

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