Ebola: Lagos alerts public, calls for precautionary measures

In the wake of reported cases of the resurgence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in some neigbouring West African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, Lagos State Government has again reiterated the need for members of the general public to ensure and maintain adequate personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of precautionary measures to prevent the recurrence of the disease in the State and the country at large.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi gave the advice in her office at Alausa, Ikeja while outlining strategies put in place by the State Government to prevent the diseases from recurring in the State after it has certified free of Ebola on the 20th of October 2014 by the World Health Organization.
She stated that Lagos State Government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, is maintaining surveillance through Port Health Services and community surveillance activities in all local government areas.
While noting that that the prevention of Ebola remains a shared responsibility by all citizens, Osunkiyesi stated that although, there has not been any reported case of EVD in the State or the Country, but there is need for residents to take responsibility for their health.
She urged residents to observe the highest possible standards of personal and environmental hygiene through regular washing of hands with soap and running water; avoid close contact with people who are sick; ensure that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed and avoid touching or washing of dead bodies if not trained to do so.

Osunkiyesi explained that EVD can be spread through close contact with the blood, body fluids, organs and tissues of infected animals; direct contact with the blood, body fluids, and tissues of infected persons; and handling sick or dead infected animals like monkey and bat.
“Early symptoms of EVD include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache and arthritis, while later symptoms include bleeding from the eyes, ears nose, mouth and rectum, eye swelling, swelling of the genitals and rashes all over the body that often contains blood. It could progress to coma, shock and death”, the Permanent Secretary said.
Osunkiyesi stated that there is no specific treatment for EVD, stressing that infected persons will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care and treated in isolation, adding that those at the highest risk include health-workers, families and friends of an infected person in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.
She noted that the need to be vigilant and ensure adequate hygiene was informed by the recent reported confirmed cases of EVD in Liberia; where a 17 year old man has been reported tested positive to EVD, 52 days after being declared Ebola free by the WHO adding that Sierra Leone has also recorded new cases.
“Lagosians are advised to remain calm as the government remains committed to protecting your health. Health workers are also enjoined to keep observing the universal safety precautions when dealing with patients. For more information or clarification about the disease; please call 08023169485 or 08052817243”, Osunkiyesi said.

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