Lagos Places Residents On Red Alert As Lassa Fever Spreads In Nigeria


The Lagos State Government says it is doing everything possible to defeat the deadly Lassa fever, just like it did during the outbreak of Ebola virus. It urged residents of the state to be on red alert by embracing personal and environmental hygiene.

The government also advised residents to block all holes in their homes through which rats could gain entrance, and also refrain from eating rat meat as well as any food already contaminated with urine, saliva and faeces of infected rat.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who briefed journalists on the update of the Lassa fever cases in the State, confirmed that so far, the state has recorded 20 suspected cases, out of which 14 tested negative, while 4 cases were confirmed positive.

He said three results were still being awaited, while 537 contacts have so far been listed, out of which 534 were currently being monitored.

According to Idris, the last confirmed case was a 27-year-old lady who travelled to Edo state on December 24, 2015 and returned to Lagos on January 2, 2016.

The Commissioner said the lady, who reportedly travelled for burial of her relative, became ill on January 14, 2016 and received care in one private hospital and three churches before she was referred on January 23, 2016 to Ijede General Hospital with fever, vomiting, diarrhea and body weakness before she eventually died, while the case was confirmed as Lassa fever on January 26, 2016.

“Members of the public are being sensitized to note that Lassa fever can be contacted through: ingestion of foods and drinks contaminated by the saliva, urine and faeces of infected rats; catching and preparing infected rats as food; inhaling tiny particles in the air contaminated with infected rat urine or droppings, and direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, through mucous membranes like eyes, nose or mouth,” the commissioner said.

However, he assured that Lagos State under the leadership of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode would continue to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to the people towards achieving universal healthcare to all, adding that the government would overcome Lassa fever just as it defeated the Ebola virus disease.