Following the confirmation of Lassa Fever cases in Nasarawa State and FCT, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCSC) has intensified Lassa Fever surveillance and response across the country.
Lassa Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.
Person-to-person transmission may also occur, particularly in healthcare settings when there is the absence of or inadequate infection control measures.
To reduce the risk of the spread of Lassa Fever, the NCDC has offered the following advice:
1. Ensure proper environmental sanitation. In other words, keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entering.
2. Cover your dustbins and dispose of refuse properly. Communities should set up dumpsites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes.
3. Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize, etc. in containers that are well covered with tight-fitting lids.
4. Avoid drying foodstuffs outside on the floor, roadside where they will be exposed to contamination.
5. Avoid bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings.
6. Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means
7. Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing of hands with soap under running water /or use of hand sanitisers when appropriate.
8. Visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, avoid self-medication
9. Healthcare workers are also advised to practice standard precautions and to maintain a high index of suspicion at all times.
10. Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) must be applied to all suspected cases of malaria. When the RDT is negative, other causes of febrile illness including Lassa fever should be considered.
Accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment increase the chances of survival.
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