EBOLA VIRUS: Outbreak in West Africa; Lagos Government Warn Citizens

The Lagos State Government has alerted residents of the state on the danger inherent in contracting the deadly ebola disease as there is no known cure yet. Members of the public are also advised to embrace the best hygiene possible and report suspected cases to the government. This is coming in the wake of the outbreak of the disease in West African countries like Guinea and Liberia which has claimed dozens of lives. Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the state government is working with the Federal Ministry of Health to prevent spread of the disease to Lagos and the country at large. Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus whose natural reservoir of virus is not completely known. Fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus. Ebola virus can be spread through close contact with the blood, body fluids, organ and tissues of infected animals; direct contact with blood, organ or body secretions of an infected person. The transmission of the virus by other animals like monkey and chimpanzee cannot be ruled out. Early symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache and joint pains. Later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, bleeding from the mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contain blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death. According to Idris, there is the need for members of the public to observe and maintain high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease in the state. “These measures, which include washing of hands often with soap and water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed off are necessary in order to reduce the risk of infection,” the Commissioner said in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Wednesday. Idris advised health workers to be on the alert; wear personal protective equipment, observe universal basic precautions when attending to suspected or confirmed cases, and report same to their local government area or Ministry of Health immediately. The Commissioner noted that those at the highest risk of the disease included health-workers and families or friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them. He stressed that Ebola virus disease should be suspected in persons who developed bleeding from the body openings like the mouth, nose, rectum and ear; a close contact of person who is infected; or health worker who had treated either suspected or confirmed infected person. Idris noted that presently, there is no specific treatment for Ebola virus disease, stressing that infected persons will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care and treated in isolation. “The Government of Lagos State in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health is putting measures in place to prevent its entry and spread in the country. These measures include sensitization of health workers, active search for cases of the disease and continuous sensitization of the public,” he said.

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