Since the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria, Lagos State has just recorded her first patient who is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Lassa fever, a hemorrhagic fever, caused by the Lassa virus, is currently raging in over 19 states in the country. The Lagos state commissioner for health Professor Akin Abayomi, in a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday, February 19 confirmed that the patient is currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Governor Sanwo-Olu and his team are expected to ensure the hemorrhagic fever does not spread across Nigeria’s mega city. Photo: Govt House, Alausa Source: Twitter He called on residents to be calm and not panic, noting that the situation is under control while assuring that the state government, in collaboration with federal authorities, will do everything possible to control the spread of the disease in the state.
He stressed 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. Earlier in the year, the Lagos state government trained 342 medical personnel as first-level emergency responders for communicable diseases in the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas of the state. This was disclosed by the director-general, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu. The training was a component of collaborative efforts with the federal authorities to contain the spread and possibility of entry into Nigeria of communicable diseases such as coronavirus, Lassa fever and others. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the rodent population is the reason for the presence of Lassa fever in some West African countries like Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
A medical superintendent, Dr Abayomi Ogunbekun, recently said everything should be done to ensure Lagos does not experience an outbreak Ogunbekun said Lagos was a prime community for Lassa fever, based on the lifestyle and environmental factors in the state. His words: “Lagos is densely populated, with many poor communities generating lots of solid waste thus encouraging massive breeding of rats. This is an indication that Lagos is a natural environment for Lassa fever.
“But we must also note that Lagos is also a metropolitan city with a mixed population. It has highly educated and social people. Even those without formal education are enlightened. Also, we have responsive, proactive government operating robust health care delivery, especially in the area of preventive public health medicine.
“Government should carry out more enlightenment programmes, develop more rapid diagnostic tests, increase availability of the only known drug treatment, carry out research to develop vaccine against Lassa fever and collaborate with the private sector, non-governmental organisations and faith-based medical institutions that are accountable for the treatment even in remote rural areas where there is no government presence.
“Residents should be proactive in safeguarding their lives by keeping the home clean and discouraging rats from entering the house, not eating rats, avoid contact with the blood and secretions of an infected patient, and avoid getting too close to people who are sneezing persistently for long periods.”
Since the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, 364 cases have been identified across 23 states with 47 deaths recorded so far.