Let's pay attention!: Lassa Fever is here again

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There is an outbreak currently ongoing in Nigeria.

There are confirmed cases in Ondo, Abia, Asaba, Enugu, Ebonyi, Edo, Plateau, Kano, Bauchi and Taraba states.

There have been 82 confirmed cases and 14 deaths so far across Nigeria from Lassa fever.

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It is a VIRAL HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER caused by the LASSA VIRUS which is naturally found in rodents especially RATS

HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER MEANS THAT IT CAUSES BLEEDING FROM ALMOST ALL PARTS OF THE BODY: EARS, EYES, NOSE, MOUTH, VAGINA, ANUS AND FINALLY DEATH

More cases are recorded during the dry season i.e. November through May.

Lassa fever is spread through: ‬
 Direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rodents.‬

 Ingesting food and drinks contaminated with the above.‬

 Contact with objects or surfaces contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

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PERSON TO PERSON transmission can also occur through contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of an infected person.‬

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LASSA FEVER

The early stages of Lassa fever present initially like other febrile illness such as malaria.

Symptoms of the disease generally include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, chest pain, swollen face and in severe cases; unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, anus and other body orifices

The incubation period (time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease) is 3 to 21 days. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chances of survival.‬

Here are few prevention tips:
 Ensure proper sanitation – i.e. keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent entry of rats‬

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 ‪• Cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Communities should setup dump sites very far from their homes to reduce contact with rodents.

 Store foodstuffs in containers which are well covered with tight fitting lids‬.

 Avoid eating foods and fruits that have been eaten by rats.

 Avoid drying foodstuff outside on the floor, roadside where it will be exposed to contamination‬

 Avoid bush burning which can lead to displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings

 Eliminate rats in homes, set rat traps. NEVER HANDLE RATS WITH BARE HANDS, DEAD OR ALIVE.

 ‪• Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water/or use of hand sanitizers when appropriate‬.

 ‪• Visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms above.

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 Healthcare workers are advised to practice standard precautions at all times: i.e. wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill patient/relative.‬

 ‪• Healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever.

Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics is suspicious.‬

‪Please if your healthcare worker suspects Lassa fever let him or her contact your local government disease surveillance and notification officer to access care in Nigeria.

‪*NCDC Toll-Free Number: 0800-970000-10‬
SMS: 08099555577‬
WhatsApp: 07087110839

This message is brought to you by Health Hub Africa.

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