Outbreak of Lassa Fever in Lagos

Lagos State Governor - Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof, Akin Abayomi, has said that the State recorded its first case of Lassa fever on 19th February, 2020. Announcing the development, he confirmed that the patient was currently in isolation at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. The Lagos State Government however called for calm and advised the public on safety precautions.

Abayomi assured that the situation was under control and there was no cause for panic, as the State Government in active collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, was doing everything possible, to control the spread of the disease in Lagos State.

“The Ministry of Health through Epidemiology, Bio-security and Global Health Directorate is currently carrying out ‘contact tracing’ to determine those who may have been infected’’, he noted.

Abayomi reiterated 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.

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

“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.

“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 stated.

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”, he added.

He said a case of Lassa fever should be suspected in any person with persistent high fever not responding to standard treatment for malaria and typhoid fever or bleeding from the body surface.

The Commissioner urged health workers as well as citizens to report suspected cases or cases of the disease to the nearest government-approved health facility, the Ministry of Health or call the emergency operation centre lines – 08023169485, 08033565529 and 08052817243.

Nwite -Samuel Justina
Principal Information Officer
FIC Lagos