Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Lassa Fever Spreads To Rivers State

A mother and her two- week-old baby have been confirmed dead following a recent outbreak of Lassa fever in Rivers State.

Vanguard gathered that the woman lost her life December 30, 2015 after successfully giving birth through a caesarean section while the baby later died January 1, having contracted the deadly Viral Hemorrhagic Disease from her late mother.

Confirming the deaths, the Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Theophilus Odagme, said when the symptoms of Lassa Fever were noticed in the dead woman, experts in the Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt were consulted and samples from her were also sent to a Specialist Centre in Lagos where it was confirmed that it was the dreaded ailment.

Odegma disclosed that contact tracing of the people who are infected with the disease has begun, adding that the state government has geared up efforts to stop the spread and further death from the disease.

On Jan. 1, the disease was confirmed in Taraba  and it's alarming that Rivers state is also battling the disease at the same time.

Lassa fever is highly contagious and easily transmitted by rats and because no one knows where else this disease might turn up, it is necessary for us all to take preventive measures to stem its spread.

8 ways to prevent Lassa fever:

1. Close all doors and openings to prevent rodents from entering your house.
2. Store grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers to prevent rats from coming in contact with your food.
3. Dispose garbage far from your home.
4. Maintain a clean environment.
5. Be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.
6. Health workers should maintain basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, use of personal protective equipment (to block splashes or other contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices.
7. Health 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.
8. When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with Lassa fever, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).

Stay healthy!

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