Lassa fever

Dr Samuel Akingbehin, the National President of Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), on Thursday, advised state governments to set up Lassa fever screening centres to prevent the spread of the disease.

The EHOAN president said that Lassa fever was close to ebola in character, and it could terminate a whole community if not quickly controlled at the early stage.

Akingbehin in Lagos against the backdrop of Lassa fever outbreak in some parts of the country stressed proactive measure rather than curative.

“Those states where the disease has not reached should quickly set up control and preventive measures to check it and protect the lives of the affected people.

“Anybody coming into the states especially from the affected states should be screened and placed on the watch list.

“Any suspected carrier should be quarantined for medical attention because some people might be infected without knowing and travel with it to other places,” he said.

According to him, the current outbreak has affected some states in the northern and western parts of the country such as Ondo and Kano with 82 confirmed cases and 17 deaths as at Thursday.

Akingbehin cautioned people against rat infestation of their premises and exposure of food items while they should cook food thoroughly and maintain a high level of personal hygiene.

He added that people should ensure strict environmental sanitation, report all prolonged fever promptly, control pest within premises with infestations, disinfect the premises and items of infected persons.

Health and medical personnel should observe safe practices strictly during care for infected people to prevent person-to-person transmission.

The health officer described Lassa fever as one of the emerging and re-emerging tropical diseases, which in the real sense, was preventable.

He said the outbreak had become a national health embarrassment.