By Amos Mathew, Kaduna
In its effort to educate the general public, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has released figures of casualties and affected persons since the outbreak of Lassa fever across Nigeria.
According to the figures , Nigeria had recorded 472 cases of the deadly Lassa fever with seventy casualties across twenty six States of the federation between January and February 9 , 2020.
Director Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Department of the NCDC Dr.Kola Jinaidu who made the disclosure further disclosed that 14 health workers were also affected within the period under review.
Dr Jinaidu was speaking as the guest speaker during a one day sensitization serminar organized by Great helping hands foundation in partnership with Oma Life Rescue Foundation (OLRF) in Kaduna with the topic ” Global threats of Corona and Lassa virus, awareness, causes and prevention”.
According to him, Lassa fever symptoms is more difficult to identify particularly in non epidemic period. Some of the symptoms he said include fatigue, general weakness, fever, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, face swelling, low blood pressure among others.
He informed that Lassa fever can be transmitted through direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats, contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food contaminated with urine, fasces, saliva or blood of infected rats.
Dr Jinaidu further said person to person transmission by contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of an infected person can occur.
He however said early treatment and diagnosis increases the chances of survival.
Preventive measures against Lassa fever he stated include effective personal hygiene e.g frequent hand washing practices, use of hand sanitizers, proper environmental sanitation, rodent control measure to include covering of dustbin, avoiding bush burning, blocking of all holes at home and work environment and storage of foodstuffs in rat proof containers.
Dr. Jinaidu called on whoever witnesses any of the symptoms to avoid any form of self medication but to visit the nearest health facility and receive IV Ribavin and other supportive treatment.
On Corona virus, he said emphatically and contrary to insinuations that cplaces virus is not in Africa, but hundreds of thousands affected with over 1000 deaths recorded in place like China.
Earlier, Kaduna State Commissioner of health represented by the director public health informed that Lassa fever treatment in the state is for free stressing that Lassa fever is no longer an epidermic but has become endemic, adding that the state already has in place a rapid response team.
In their respective speeches earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Great helping hands Pastor and Mrs Shola Oweye and the MD/CEO Oma Life Rescue Foundation Dr (Mrs) Omanibe Ani said both foundations are committed towards touching the lives of people positively hence the decision to put the serminar together for people to be aware of the global threats and take precautive measures.
Other NGOs in attendance include Nachen sight initiative, Mohammed Abdul-one foundation and Elpizo humanitarian foundation.