LASSA FEVER OUTBREAK ‘Prevention Is Better Than Care’.
With the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, it is important for us to put in place preventive and control measures in our homes/offices most especially since reported cases has been confirmed in the region.
The Minister of Health , Prof Isaac Adewole issued a statement on Wednesday, 6th January 2016 in Abuja in response to the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country in his statement he confirmed that the fever has spread into eight states namely : Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo. He added, “The total number of suspected cases so far reported is 76 with 35 deaths, and a Case Fatality Rate of 46 per cent.
“Healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa Fever should immediately contact the epidemiologist in the State Ministry of Health or call the Federal Ministry of Health using the following numbers: 08093810105,08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.
Lassa Fever is an acute febrile illness with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa Fever virus with an incubation period of 6 to 21 days.
About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic, the remaining cases have severe multi-system disease, where the virus affects several organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.
The onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina or gastro-intestinal tract, and low blood pressure.
The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multi-mammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis
It is important to promote good hygiene. Here are some more measures to keep in place:
· Avoid contact between rats and human beings;
· Keep your house and Environment clean
· Cover all foods and water properly.
· Cook all foods thoroughly
· Store foodstuffs in rodent proof containers
· Block all rat hideouts
· If you suspect that rat has eaten any food, discard it
· Family members should always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.
· Disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households
· Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers.