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Tips on staying safe during this Lassa fever outbreak

lassa_fever_virusWith the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, it is important for us to put in place preventive and control measures in our homes/offices most especially since reported cases has been confirmed in the region.
It has been confirmed that the Lassa fever has spread into ten states namely : Bauchi, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo States. According to reports, “The total number of suspected cases so far reported is 81 with over 35 deaths, and a Case Fatality Rate of 43.2 per cent. “Healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa Fever should immediately contact the epidemiologist in the State Ministry of Health or call the Federal Ministry of Health using the following numbers: 08093810105,08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.

Lassa Fever is an acute febrile illness with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa Fever virus with an incubation period of 6 to 21 days.

About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic, the remaining cases have severe multi-system disease, where the virus   affects   several   organs in the   body, such as the   liver, spleen and kidneys.

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Lassa-fever_ratsThe onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting,   diarrhoea, cough, and   bleeding   from   mouth,   nose,   vagina   or gastro-intestinal tract, and low blood pressure.
The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multi-mammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis.

Prevention:
It is important to promote good hygiene. Here are some more measures to keep in place:

·         Avoid contact between rats and human beings;

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·         Keep your house and Environment clean

·         Cover all foods and water properly.

·         Cook all foods thoroughly

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·         Store foodstuffs in rodent proof containers

·         Block all rat hideouts

·         If you suspect that rat has eaten any food, discard it

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·         Family members should always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.

·         Disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households

·         Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers.

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