Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in Nigeria.
Since the beginning of 2018, a total number of 107 suspected Lassa fever cases have been recorded in ten states: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo and Lagos State.
The illness is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures. Health care workers in health facilities are particularly at risk of contracting the disease, especially where infection prevention and control procedures are not strictly adhered to.
Lassa fever can be prevented through food and personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation.
Effective measures include storing grain and other food stuff in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintain clean households, and other means of preventing rodents (rats, mice, squirrels, marmots) from entering homes. Hand washing should also be practiced always.
Family members who are providing care for patients with Lassa Fever should take extra care for patients with Lassa Fever. States are also encouraged to ensure safe and dignified burial practises for patients who die from Lassa Fever.
I want to urge the people not to panic, but in case of any noticeable or relative symptoms of the disease, the health officials are the ones to be called upon.