Lassa fever: Kwara strengthens surveillance against virus
Sequel to the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in some parts of the country, the Kwara State Ministry of Health said it has put up adequate efforts to prevent the disease from entering the state, calling on all and sundry to be vigilant in this respect.
Habeeb Lawal, Public Health Practitioner and Acting Deputy Director Public Health Department of the Ministry who stated this in an interview with Business Day in Ilorin gave an assurance that the ministry is fully prepared and ready to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.
According to him, the Lassa hemorrhagic fever virus is transmitted from rodents to humans initially, but now it is between human to human through direct contact of blood to blood or body fluid contact.
The symptoms, according to him, include catarrh, cough, diarrhea, vomiting and eventually affect other organs like liver.
He said; “What we are doing now as a state is that we are being proactive. We have met and set- up our Emergency Preparedness Team. It is already in Kogi State and it can get to Kwara anytime so, we are prepared.
“We have activated the committee and we are going to maintain it. The team is led by the state Director of Public Health, Oluwatosin Fakayode. We have met the authority and management of Ministry of Health and sent our proposal as we are about to start public sensitization because is the key to prevent all diseases from occurrence and it is better way to prevent it.” Speaking on the level of preparedness, Lawal posited that, “We are going to strengthen our surveillance through mass awareness campaign and research. Although, no case of Lassa fever in Kwara and we are not responding to an outbreak but rather, we are trying to ensure that proactive measures are put in place towards prevention of the virus and make Kwara free from Lassa”.
He, however, revealed that, the ministry is also collaborating with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), to further strengthen the process.
The Acting Deputy Director added that Health personnels are in all 16 local government areas of the state to observe if they see any suspicious symptoms in anybody. The idea is for them to report any findings, and after that, they will we get a sample, isolate the patient and follow up so that it does not spread to other people.
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin
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