Lassa fever: Important Facts You Need To Know

DR Omojuowolo Olubunmi has said a collaborative effort has been taken by the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, and the management of LUTH, to curb the deadly, Lassa fever disease.

Speaking as a guest on Today on STV, the National Medical Association Chairman said the first step is case identification, contact tracing and surveillance; in which those that have been identified with symptoms will be placed on surveillance.

Stating the symptoms he said from the onset; he said it starts gradually with fever, general weakness and malaise. After a few days, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and abdominal pain.

But in severe cases, he said symptoms like facial swelling, fluid in the lung cavity, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure may develop.

Other symptoms he mentioned are: the presence of protein in the urine, shock, seizures, tremor, disorientation and coma. Deafness occurs in 25% of patients who survive the disease, in half of these cases, hearing returns partially after 1-3 months.

He went further to state that prevention is the ultimate, after a comparative analysis of Ebola and Lassa fever, from the angle of prevention; justifying the fact that Lassa fever can be taken care of if measures taken to curb Ebola are implored.

Still stressing on prevention, he said the simplest way is to apply the same preventive measures during the Ebola outbreak. Even though Ebola is known to be more deadly than Lassa fever, we should not ignore the necessary preventive measures.

Some of the measures he mentioned are: avoid contamination of our food with rat urine and dropping, imbibe personal and general hygiene like cleanliness, cutting grasses around our houses, public awareness on the radio and television just like the broadcast programme, today on STV.

Other preventive measures he mentioned are:  health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Lassa fever should apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patient’s blood and body fluids and contaminated surfaces or materials such as clothing and bedding.

He also revealed that burial practices in our culture can also be a vehicle for transmitting the virus. Because the corpse is laden with the virus, so in carrying out the routine of washing the corpse, one can contact the virus. So the corpse has to be disposed properly.

In his concluding words, he said public health education, and health outreach is a major way to prevent cases of Lassa fever and cases of Lassa fever should be reported to the ministry of health and appropriate health. Prevention is always better than cure.

Source: Silverbird Tv

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