The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has concluded plans to partner the Federal Ministry of Health to bring the outbreak of Lassa Fever under control.
The NARD’s National President, Dr Olusegun Olaopa and the Secretary General, Dr Anthony Ude, said on Monday that the recent resurgence in the number of reported cases of Lassa fever was worrisome.
Lassa fever is a viral illness caused by the Lassa fever virus. It is predominantly a disease transmitted directly to humans through contact with infected multimammate rat, its urine and faeces.
It is also transmitted indirectly through contact with household items, foods which are contaminated with rodent’s saliva, blood, graces, urine and person to person contact.
The disease is endemic in West Africa and occurs in outbreaks periodically in certain parts of Nigeria.
When promptly recognised and diagnosed, it is treatable and Nigeria has active dedicated treatments centres, spread across the country.
Lassa fever infection shares similar symptoms with so many common illnesses like malaria and Enteric fever, which include fever, body pains, headache, convulsion, difficulty with breathing, diarrhoea etc.
The hallmark is bleeding, which can be conjunctiva infection, vomiting blood, urinating blood, coughing blood and bleeding from puncture sites.
Many positive individuals do not bleed, thus the need for evaluation in an appropriate health facility is sacrosanct.
“From Jan. 1 to Jan.13, 2019, a total of 172 suspected cases have been reported out of which 35 of the cases were confirmed by the Nigerian Centre of Disease Control.
“The Association and its affiliates and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the response, including epidemiological investigation, surveillance, logistics, case management, communications and community engagement.
“While we remain dedicated toward mitigating morbidity and mortality, we urge the general public to visit reputable healthcare facilities to seek medical care and resist the urge of self-prescription.
“We also enjoin members of the public to focus on prevention by practising good personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation,” the association said in a statement.
According to the association, effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers.
The NARD also recommended the disposal of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and other measures to discourage rodents from entering homes.
“Hand washing should be practiced frequently; we also advise the public to avoid bush burning.
“We call for adequate provision of required safety materials and supplies to all health care facilities.
“NARD remains committed to supporting the efforts of government and public health trust teams to prevent and respond to public health threats,” the doctors said.