Warning: Lasa Fever Is Killing Nigerians, Tell Your Friends And Family Members Now
The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in some states of the federation; some people have been confirmed dead and several others infected. Lassa fever is an acute viral infection associated with persistent high fever. People at greater risk are those in areas of poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.
One can become infected by eating food contaminated with rat excreta/urine deposited on surfaces such as floors, beds, household utensils or in food and water e.g. surfaces of canned drinks/foods and other stored food items). Person to person infection also occurs through direct contact or inhalation of infected body fluids including blood, urine, saliva, throat secretions, etc.
The symptoms of the disease, which are noticed between one to three weeks after being in contact with the virus include:
· Pain behind the chest wall
· Sore throat
· Back and abdominal pain
· Vomiting and diarrhoea
· Facial swelling and mucosal bleeding
The antiviral drug “Ribavirin” is an effective treatment for lassa fever when given early in the course of the illness. Patients suspected to have lassa fever, or have persistent fever and do not respond to the standard treatment for malaria and typhoid, should report to the nearest hospital.
Lassa fever is prevented by promoting good community hygiene to prevent rodents from entering homes. Other effective measures include:
· Disposing of garbage far from the house and maintaining a hygienic environment
· Storing grains and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers
· Washing the surfaces of stored canned foods before consuming content
· Cooking all foods thoroughly
Safeguard your health, be on alert and stay safe. Remember…your health is our wealth!