The Lagos State Government has recorded the one case of the Lassa fever, on Tuesday, as confirmed by the State’s Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, some hours ago, through his Twitter handle @ProfAkinAbayomi.
Abayomi, who said the patient is currently in isolation and receiving treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, urged residents to remain calm as the situation is under control, saying routine contact tracing, an exercise often necessary to curb the spread of the disease, has commenced in earnest to contain the spread.
According to him: “The Lagos State Ministry of Health, LSMOH, through its Epidemiology, Biosecurity and Global Health Directorate has commenced contact tracing to determine those who may have been infected while other surveillance and biosecurity strategies have been stepped up to prevent any further spread. The LSMOH is also in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC to contain and prevent the spread of the infection in Lagos”.
In view of the development, the commissioner emphasised the need for 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 disease in the state.
He stated 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.
“To contain and prevent the spread of the infection in Lagos, I enjoin the public to remain calm as the situation is under control. My team and I will keep Lagosians updated of any further development on the case. Let’s stay free from infections by maintaining high standard of personal and environmental hygiene to Lassa fever”, he quipped.
He further urged residents to store house-hold refuse in sanitary refuse bags or dust bins with tight-fitting covers to avoid infestation by rats and rodents; dispose refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and store food items in rodent-proof containers.
“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.
It is crystal clear that health institutions in Nigeria in the last eleven weeks have been struggling to contain the scourge of Lassa fever, which has claimed many lives with several confirmed cases.
Since the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever from 1 January 2020 to 9 February, it has spread to 26 states and 92 Local Government Areas in the country, and this is the first case to be confirmed in Lagos, as the updated report from the NCDC showed that there have been 1708 suspected cases, 472 confirmed cases and 70 deaths.
Due to lack of a validated vaccine, the disease has become an epidemic in the country as it has become a year-round outbreak with cases usually rising from November and peaking by May.