Lagos State on Wednesday confirmed its first case of Lassa fever which has spread across states in the country.
The patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), according to the State Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi.
He assured that efforts are already in place to ensure the disease is not spread but contained within the shortest possible time.
“The Lagos State Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) through Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate “to carry out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected in line with international standards while we beef up our other surveillance strategies.”
The Commissioner stressed the need for members of the public to ensure and maintain an 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.
Abayomi noted that the prevention and control of the disease remained a shared responsibility of all citizens through the observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.
“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.
“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 also 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,” he added.
He stated that 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 the body surface.