The Lagos State Government, LASG, says it has placed Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro, in Lagos where the patient with the first Lassa fever virus case was first admitted. under surveillance. In a statement released by Dr Jide Idris, the Lagos State commissioner for Health on Saturday, the 15 in-patients and other 25 health workers in the favcility are being monitored. “Ahmmadiyyah Hospital where the first case of the disease in Lagos was reported is now under surveillance and there will be no service delivery in the facility until further notice” Idris said.
“In the wake of reported cases of Lassa fever in some States of Nigeria, the Lagos State Government has confirmed the occurrence of the first case of Lassa fever in the State,” the statement confirmed.
“The patient, a 25-year-old male undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State was reported to have fallen ill after he arrived Lagos.”
The Commissioner added that the patient was taken to Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro on January 9, 2016, with complaint of fever, sore throats and difficulty in swallowing.
“He was subsequently placed on admission for six days and was thereafter referred by the private hospital to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, on January 14, 2016,” he added.
Idris, further explained that LUTH on January15, 2016 confirmed that the patient had contacted Lassa fever and the hospital was managing the case and the patient’s condition stable.
“This we are saying in assurance that both the State and Federal Governments are doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa virus.
“This we are doing in line with International standards, the contacts of the patient are being tracked for follow-up; Drugs and other materials have also been prepositioned at our designated facilities,” he said.
“Isolation centres have been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases.
“The Mainland Hospital and all other General Hospitals have been placed on the alert where the anti-viral drugs for the management of cases are available.
“Ambulances have been dedicated to respond to referral and transportation of cases.
“Also airing of jingles on Lassa fever on electronic media and the distribution of factsheets on Lassa fever by the Medical Directors of LASUTH and 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State.
“Distributions are also made to Medical Officers of Health in all the 57 LGAs/LCDAs, all other agencies of the Ministry and AGPMPN for circulation to all health workers in their facilities,’’ he said.
Idris, also said that there would be a reactivation of isolation wards in LASUTH and 26 General Hospitals in Lagos State for isolation of any suspected case.
“There will be prepositioning of PPEs in all 26 General Hospitals for use by health workers with 6,750 PPEs reserve at Mainland Hospital, Yaba.
“The Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) in all the LGAs in the state have been sensitized on Lassa fever to enhance early detection and prompt reporting of cases.
“Creation of awareness on Lassa fever by the health educators in the 57 LGAs/LCDAs.
“The state health educator would commence sensitisation on Lassa fever for Iyaloja General of Nigeria and market leaders in Lagos state,” the statement further added.
“Collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, Virology Reference Laboratory, College of Medicine University of Lagos and World Health Organisation, Lagos in prevention and control of the disease.”
He, however, urged citizens to be alert and inform government if suspected of any case.
On how to avoid contacting Lassa fever, Idris said that the public should stay away from rats, avoid eating it and report any persistent fever to the nearest public health facility.
“Members of the public should avoid ingestion of foods and drinks contaminated by the saliva, urine and faeces of infected rats, catching and preparing infected rats as food.
“Inhaling tiny particles in the air contaminated with infected rat urine or droppings.
“Direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, through mucous membranes, like eyes, nose or mouth.
“Those at highest risk include health workers, families and friends of an infected person in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.
“Though Lassa fever and Ebola Virus Disease belong to the same Viral Haemorrhagic Fever group, Lassa Fever is milder and can be treated and cured if detected early,’’he said.
Idris however urged to watch out for the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever which typically could occur within 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus.
“Early symptoms of the disease include; fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and joint pains.
“Late symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood.
“It could progress to coma, shock and death. Public are also advised to suspect Lassa fever in persons with the above symptoms.
“They should also provide history of contact with an infected person or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed cases.
“Residents should keep and observe a high level of personal and environmental hygiene and take note of the following: Avoid contact between rats and human beings, ensure proper collection and disposal of waste, cover all foods (including left-overs) and water properly.
“Wash hands properly before and after cooking of foods, block all rat hideouts and store food items in rodent-proof containers.”
The commissioner advised health workers to be at alert and have high index of suspicion for Lassa fever and other viral hemorrhagic fever and report any suspect case.
“The case should be reported to the Primary Health Department of LGAs or the Ministry of Health and also observe universal safety precautions when attending to all patients,’’ he said.
“Members of the public and health workers are to report any case or symptoms of persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever.
“This should be reported to the nearest health facility or call the following lines:, 08037170614, 08022234273, 08022241768 08033065303, 08033086660, 08055281442 and 08023169485.
“We will not compromise on our commitment to a healthy and happy State,’’ Idris said, assuring that the Lagos State Government as part of its mandate, remains committed to ensuring that the wellbeing of the people is paramount.