...need to intensify sensitization campaigns in Osun

On the 25th January, 2020, two cases of the raging Lassa Fever epidemic - an acute viral haemorrhagic illness, transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rats was confirmed in Osun.

Following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, especially in our neighbouring Ondo State, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr Olasiji Olamiju had placed all health institutions and workers on high alert against spread of the virus with intensified enlightenment campaigns across the State.

The Osun Public Health Army led by Dr Olamiju moved from religious centres to market places, schools, health institutions and border communities in the three Senatorial districts of the State, to sensitize people on the symptoms and how to track the disease.

“As you are aware, Lassa fever is already ravaging Ondo State which is very close to us here and we have recorded two imported cases. We realise that prevention is better than cure and that was why we came out to sensitise traders and everyone around the border areas today”, Olamiju said during one of the campaigns.

This outbreak has spread gradually to different parts of Nigeria and now, it is in Lagos. This is worrisome.

Lagos is overpopulated and the risk of the virus spreading is much higher than it would in other cities. The traffic is so bad now that people who own private vehicles now prefer to take public transport and people would inevitably touch other passengers directly or indirectly. I am afraid this could easily spread beyond control in such a populated city.

In the absence of adequate infection control measures, person-to-person transmission is inevitable, particularly in the banks, markets, buses, schools, bus-stop and hospital environment.

Osun is at more risk because people travel to Lagos every day, either to sell or buy and cannot afford to deal with another imported cases of the virus as the other confirmed cases were imported.

We call on the people to remain alert, practice good environmental and personal hygiene as these are some of the best ways of staying safe, especially reporting of suspected outbreak and symptoms such as high fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and later bleedings from the mouth or other body orifices to the appropriate nearby health facilities.

The State government of Osun under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has equipped all Primary Health centres across the State while our health workers are battle-ready to contain and curtail the spread of this deadly virus.

Our healthcare workers have been advised to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever i.e. they should be vigilant and lookout for signs and symptoms of Lassa fever.

Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics should raise an index of suspicion for Lassa fever!

Please, if anyone suspects Lassa fever, we advise them to contact the Osun Public Health Emergency Operations Centre to access care via 08187187678, 08173112320 and 08056456250.

Office of the Honourable Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health

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