Lassa Fever: Lagos Preaches Personal, Environmental Hygiene
The Lagos State Government has again reiterated the great need for all members of 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 the Lassa fever disease in the State.
In a statement issued and signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, Lagos state government noted that the prevention, as well as control of the disease, remains a shared responsibility for all citizens through observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.
Idris called on residents to always dispose of refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system.
The commissioner enjoined members of the public to avoid contact with rats and rodents by ensuring that all the holes around septic tanks and buildings are blocked.
While outlining strategies put in place by the State government to control the disease, the Commissioner explained that Lagos State is maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance unit to prevent the spread of the disease in Lagos.
“Isolation wards have been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases, health workers have been placed on red alert and community sensitization activities intensified, Idris noted.
The commissioner mentioned symptoms of the acute disease such as general weakness of the body, persistent high fever, sore throat, malaise headache, nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
He added that the disease can progress into a severe form in which case the patient develops facial swelling, fluid in the chest, bleeding from the mouth, nose, and the gut; low blood pressure, shock, disorientation, coma as well as kidney and liver failure.
The Commissioner, therefore, 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. The plastic sheets must be large enough to cover the entire mattress, be waterproof, and be thoroughly disinfected after discharge of patients”, Idris stressed.
The Commissioner also enjoined residents to report any suspected case or cases of the disease to the nearest government-approved health facility or the Ministry of Health.
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 body orifices and such cases should be timely reported to the nearest health facility.