The Lagos State Government has announced it is maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance unit to prevent the spread of Lassa fever in the state.
Commenting on the development, the State Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris, said in a statement that prevention and control of the disease, however, remains a shared responsibility of all citizens.
“Isolation wards have been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases, health workers have been placed on red alert and community sensitisation activities intensified.
“There is need 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 Lassa fever in the state,” Idris said.
The commissioner urged the public to store house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents.
He also urged people to dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.
According to him, by so doing, a habitable and conducive environment, and a disease-free state can be achieved.
“Members of the public are further advised to avoid contact with rats and to always cover their food and water properly. Cook all your 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,” he said.
The commissioner urged health workers in public and private hospitals to ensure they observed universal safety precautions and complied with infection prevention and control measures when dealing with patients.
He also stressed the need for workers to wear appropriate personal protective equipment like hand gloves, facemasks, goggles and overalls when attending to cases.
“Safety boxes should be used for collection of used needles and syringes and general medical waste must be properly sorted out in colour-coded bags and disposed in line with international standards.
“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. The plastic sheets must be large enough to cover the entire mattress, be waterproof, and be thoroughly disinfected after discharge of patients,” Idris said.
According to him, Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus that is associated with symptoms such as persistent high fever, general weakness of the body, malaise headache, sore throat, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.
He said that the disease could progress into a severe form where the patient develops facial swelling, fluid in the chest.
He said also that the patient could develop bleeding from the mouth, nose and the gut; low blood pressure, shock, disorientation, coma, and kidney and liver failure.