Following outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the country, Lagos State government, at the weekend, alerted residents on the need to maintain adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of the Lassa fever in the State.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who disclosed this in Lagos, explained that the message to the residents became necessary to stem a possible outbreak of the disease in the state in the wake of reported cases in parts of the country.
Idris, who urged members of the public to avoid contact with rats, charged them to cover their food and water properly, while ensuring that they cook all their food thoroughly, as well as block all rat hideouts and holes through which rats could enter the house.
The commissioner also counseled the residents to store their grains and other dried food items in containers with covers, as well as keeping pets like cats in the house
He explained that Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus associated with persistent high fever, and added that as the disease progresses into a severe form, the patient begins to develop facial swelling, fluid in the chest, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina and the gut, low blood pressure, shock, disorientation, coma and kidney and liver failure.
According to him, other usual symptoms include general weakness, malaise headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
“Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus and associated with persistent high fever. It is spread by exposure to and eating of foods contaminated with rat dropping or urine. It is also spread by direct contact with the blood, urine, faces or other bodily secretions of person with Lassa fever,” Idris noted.
He urged members of the public to report the case of anybody with the above symptoms or persistent high fever that is not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever to the nearest health facility in the state.
The Commissioner noted that though Lagos state is not in the Lassa fever belt region, members of the public should practice adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times to avert outbreak of the disease in the state.