The Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu, DG Primary health Dr Ekpeyong and the entire health team has carried out a rigorous sensitization exercise in Yakurr LGA of CRS on the steps/modalities that will help prevent and control this deadly disease.
With visible pictures and flyers, a step by step guide was presented by her stating clearly what lassa fever is, how it can spread, the signs and symptoms of lassa fever, the treatment, as well as prevention of the spread of Lassa fever and what should be done in any case of suspected infected persons.
The people of Ugep has been advised by both the Commissioner, the DG of CRSPHCDA and the Obol Lopon to carry out sensitization campaigns in their various communities, villages, places of work, individual homes and even across market squares and churches so everyone will be aware of Lassa fever prevention.
The host community thanked the State Governor Sen Prof Ben Ayade for always putting them first in everything and choosing their LGA for this massive events/sensitization campaign. They reiterate their willingness to always support and stand by the leadership of Governor Ben Ayade and to continue to queue behind his visions when the health commissioner threw more light to them on how passionate the governor feels about them and his numerous supports and plans for the health system
Lassa fever is spread through:
1. Direct contact with urine, feaces, saliva or blood of infected rodents
2. Ingestion of food and drinks contaminated with urine, feaces, saliva or blood of infected rats.
3. Contact with objects, household items or surfaces contaminated with urine, feaces, saliva or blood of infected rat
4. Person-to-person transmission can also occur through contact with blood, urine, feaces, vomitus and other body fluids of infected persons particularly in hospital environments where infection prevention and control practices are not optimal.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LASSA FEVER
The early stages of Lassa fever presents initially like other febrile illnesses such as malaria. Symptoms of the disease generally include: fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea , muscle pains, chest pains and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, anus and other body orifices. It could also present as persistent bleeding from sites of intravenous cannulation.
The incubation period (time between an infection and appearance of symptom of the disease) is 3-21 days. Early diagnosis and treatment, increases the chances of survival. Inappropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face mask, goggles etc., increases the risk of person-to-person transmission of Lassa fever.
To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, the following preventive measures can be carried out:
1. Practice of good personal hygiene by frequent hand washing with soap under running water and or use of hand sanitizers when appropriate.
2. Storage of foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn etc. in containers with tight fitting lids.
3. Avoidance of drying of foodstuff outside on the floor and by the road side where they can be exposed to contamination.
4. Proper covering of dustbin and disposal of refuse. Dump sites should be set up very far from homes.
5. Clearing the environment regularly.
6. Avoidance of bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwelling.
7. Elimination of rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means.
8. Disposal of all health care waste in a safe manner.
9. Practice of standard precautions at all times while handling patients and body fluids.
Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48hrs use of antimalarial or antibiotics should report to the nearest health facility for proper evaluation and treatment.
Health workers should maintain a high index of suspicion as Lassa fever can present like malaria fever and other febrile illnesses.
It is very important that health workers maintain standard precaution while managing patients.
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