Lassa Fever update: Lagos monitoring 63 contacts

File: Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi (middle) briefing newsmen, with other government officials
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi (middle) briefing newsmen, with other government officials

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday disclosed that 63 people who had contacts with the Lassa Fever patient in the state are being monitored.

The government had earlier announced a case of Lassa Fever in Lagos, with the victim currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

At a news conference in Alausa on Wednesday, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the victim was a student who came in from Ebonyi State and that his destination was the Lagos Law School.

He said the victim fell ill and that the health facilities tried to treat him for common ailment such as malaria and others, saying that since he was still unwell, government decided to test for Lassa Fever and it was positive.

Abayomi said government had begun contact tracing and that 63 contacts had so far been established and were being monitored to see if they would develop Lassa Fever symptom.

He stated that the victim was now in active treatment at the isolation centre, while appealing to residents of the state to maintain proper hygiene and ensured that the eliminate rats from their environment.

Abayomi said the prevention and control of the disease remained a shared responsibility of all citizens through observance of the highest possible standards of personal and community hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

He 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. He added that it is by so doing that 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, 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,” he said.

While outlining strategies put in place by the State government to control the disease, the Commissioner explained that the Lagos State was maintaining relevant surveillance activities through its disease surveillance officers at local government level to prevent the spread of the disease in Lagos.

“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 sensitization activities intensified”, Abayomi noted.

The Commissioner 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”, Abayomi added.