Lassa Fever: 57 persons placed under surveillance in Rivers State

Tina Amanda and Lorine Emenike

The Director, Planning Research and Statistic at the Rivers State Ministry of health, Dr Chinwe Tonye Atata, has called on all residents in the state to promote good community hygiene.

Dr Chinwe T. Atata who is also the acting Permanent Secretary of the state ministry of health made this call on Friday while briefing newsmen at the state ministry secretariat.

She noted that the briefing was to inform the populace of the state that the ministry is well prepared and equipped to control the recent outbreak of Lassa fever.

“We heard a report of a suspected case of lassa fever in the state. We want to tell the public, how far we have gone.
In the last few days, we received four reports of suspected cases of Lassa fever. All these cases have received prompt and adequate attention.

“Two rumours have been investigated and discarded, two samples have also been collected and sent to the National Reference Laboratory for Virology. All two cases are suspected unconfirmed and results are been awaited”

“However, the State was notified of a resident of Rivers State who was diagnosed in Edo State as a case of Lassa fever, that was on the 22nd of this month (January 2020), and incidentally the patient passed on also on that 22nd at Iruah Specialist Teaching Hospital.

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“Investigations are still ongoing at Edo State together with the management of the hospital and the NCDC. We as the working as tediously to ensure Public Health Safety in exposed clusters especially among public health personnel and the first responders.

“Presently 57 persons have been placed under surveillance. We are working in partnership with the state and the federal agencies and all stakeholders in the interest of public health security”

“There is, therefore, no cause for alarm as the situation as recorded is fairly under control.

“In addition, we have in stock a sufficient quantity of commodities and drugs for therapeutic and preventive interventions incase of further challenges”

“The State infectious isolation and treatment teams are all on response mood for swift intervention in view of the prevailing upsurge of Lassa fever case in the state.

“All health service centres are to maintain simple triage system for all patients and uphold standard infection prevention principles required for service delivery.

“The use of glove, face mask and sanitizers as well as infrared temperature scans at health facilities should not be compromised for any suspected viral fever.

“Cautious management of laboratory samples is also advised. The public is further advised to continue all necessary preventive measures in the circumstance, prevention is better than cure.

“It is important to remind you that Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus. The reservoir of the virus is the multimammate rat and transmission could be from rodents to humans and also by injection of food and materials contaminated infected rodent excreta of urine. It could also be transmitted from human to human by direct contact with infected blood, tissue, secretion or excrete of an infected human.

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“Consequently, the general public is enjoined to promote good community hygiene to prevent rodents from entering the homes.
This we can do by, keeping food and water covered to prevent contamination by rats, storing grains like rice, garri and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, dispose garbage far from homes and maintain clean households, not drying food items in open place, do not touch rats with bare hands, also the use of alcohol sanitizers is recommended.

“Avoid contact with blood and body fluid while caring for a sick patient, also remember to wash your hand with water and soap.

“There is, therefore, no cause for alarm as the ministry of health is taking care of the situation”.

For further information and enquiry from the state ministry of health call 08056109538, 08031888093, 08033124314.