Lassa Fever Outbreak: Abia govt educates the public on control measures

Posted by FN Editor | 4 years ago | 1,599 times


Following the confirmation of Lassa fever outbreak in a community in Umuahia South LGA of the State, we wish to issue the following advisory to citizens regarding the disease, prevention and its control.

Please note that “outbreak” does not suggest generalized spreading of the disease but rather a medical parlance applied to even single confirmation of a highly infectious disease such as Lassa Fever, Ebola etc. In the present case, only a single case was confirmed and full contact tracing is ongoing with more than 95% success rate. All those who were identified to have had contact with the index patient are currently being monitored and those who are eligible are on prophylactic treatment. There is therefore no need for panic.

It is important to note that Lassa Fever can be treated and drugs are available in medical facilities in Abia State. Our people are encouraged to visit the nearest medical facilities if they have fever or other symptoms listed below. More importantly, efforts should be made to prevent infection by keeping the environment clean, prevent rats from coming near food items and take measures to ensure that rats fleeing from bush burning do not enter homes or anywhere food items are kept.

We assure you that the Government is on top of this situation and those who have further enquiries can visit any medical facility in the state, including our primary healthcare centers spread all over the state, or contact our tele-health team via 

1. 0700 224 2362 (0700 ABIA DOC)
2. 0700 3425 2362
 (0700 DIAL A DOC)

Key facts you should know about Lassa Fever
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus. This type of virus is found in multimammate rats. It can be life-threatening.

Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through:

- Inhaling air contaminated with aerosols of rodent excretions 
- Swallowing the virus in food or contaminated utensils
- Preparing and eating multimammate rats (meat of wild or non-domesticated animals, called bush meat or wild meat)
- It can also be spread through cuts and open sores

Symptoms can include:

• bleeding in the gums, nose, eyes, or elsewhere
• difficulty in breathing
• coughing
• swollen airways
• vomiting and diarrhea, both with blood
• difficulty in swallowing
• hepatitis
• swollen face
• pain in the chest, back, and abdomen 

Preventive measures 

• Regular hand washing
• Storing food in rodent-proof containers
• Keeping garbage away from the home
• Avoiding blood and other bodily fluids when caring for sick relatives

Abia State Ministry of Health is fully in control of the situation with a rapid response team fully deployed in line with their standard response system. We see no cause for alarm but wish to plead for vigilance.


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