By Adeola Ogunrinde
Lagos State Ministry of Health has said the state has recorded 14 suspected cases of Lassa fever as at January 21, 2016 since the outbreak of the disease in the country in November 2015.
Three of the suspected cases have been confirmed positive, according to the ministry. One case was recorded on the January 15, 2016 and two cases were later confirmed on January 18, 2016. Eight suspected cases tested negative, while results for the remaining three suspected cases are being awaited.
The Ministry also listed 447 contacts of the confirmed cases and 438, 98 per cent of the contacts are currently being monitored.
The places where those who tested positive to Lassa Fever are receiving treatment include Orile General Hospital, Ahmaddiya Hospital, Mushin, Amuwo and Eti-Osa.
Major cases, which have tested to the fever, include a 25-year-old male undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna. He was first admitted to Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro on January 9, 2016 and later referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on January 14, 2016.
He was confirmed as a case of Lassa fever on January 15, 2016 at LUTH. The patient is presently being managed at LUTH and has had antiviral medication for 7 days and his condition is stable and he is ambulating.
Another case is that of 51-year-old-man who lived in Ilasan-Lekki who came back from Edo where he attended a wedding ceremony on December 28, 2015. He was initially admitted at Divine Medical Centre in Ikoyi on January 12, 2016 and referred to Mainland Hospital, Yaba early January 18, 2016. The patient died at 2pm same day before the result of the laboratory test that confirmed him positive for Lassa Fever was received.
In view of the confirmation of cases of Lassa Fever, the Lagos State Government has called on residents of the state to be calm, assuring them that both the State and Federal Governments were doing everything possible to control the spread of the Lassa virus.
In line with international standards, the contacts of the patient are being tracked for follow-up.
Meanwhile, drugs and other materials have also been prepositioned at designated facilities; and isolation centres have been prepared to manage suspected and confirmed cases.
Members of the public are being sensitized to note that Lassa fever can be contacted through, 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.
It could also be contacted through 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.
Residents are urged to watch out for the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever, which typically 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 later.