The Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has provided resources, including medical supplies, to support the management and control of Lassa fever in Lagos State.
Dr Joshua Obasanya, Director, Prevention and Programmes Coordination Department, NCDC, made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Obasanya said that by Aug. 9, Lagos State Government had reported five confirmed cases and two deaths from the disease.
He said that following the confirmation, public health response commenced immediately led by the Lagos State Ministry of Health with support from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The director explained that Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic illness, caused through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
He said the Lassa virus might also be spread between humans through direct contact with blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
According to him, the illness is characterised by sudden onset of fever and general weakness of the body. “Other symptoms, including headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough and abdominal pain (manifest).
“In the most severe cases, individuals may bleed from the mouth, nose, eyes or other parts of the body. “Although there is no vaccine currently available for Lassa fever, the disease can be prevented and treated,’’ he said.
Obasanya advised members of the public to ensure proper sanitation to discourage rats from entering homes. He advised that foodstuff should be stored in rodent proof containers, garbage disposed properly and far from the home and hand washing practised frequently.
”It is very important to report to a health facility for early initiation of treatment. ”Lassa fever should be suspected where common causes of fever, like malaria, have been ruled out.
”Healthcare workers are strongly advised to practice universal care precautions, while handling patients at all times, not just when Lassa is suspected,” Obasanya added. He also advised that extra caution should be taken by family members providing care for patients of Lassa fever.
He said that states were encouraged to ensure safe burial practices for patients, who died from Lassa fever. He similarly urged all states to continue to report cases of Lassa fever immediately, while improving on the timeliness of their reporting generally.
Since the onset of the Lassa fever outbreak in December 2016 a total of 689 suspected cases and 113 deaths have been reported with confirmed 217 cases and 81 deaths as at Week 31 of 2017.