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 re-entry of the disease in the State and the country at large.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi who spoke in her office at Alausa, Ikeja while outlining strategies put in place by the State government at preventing the re-entry of the disease in the State after being certified free of Ebola on the 20th of October 2014 by the World Health Organization, explained that the Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders are maintaining relevant 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, there is need by 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; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; ensuring 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 monkeys and bats.
“Early symptoms of EVD include fever, headache, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, backache, and arthritis while 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 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; one of which is a 17 year old man, 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 your 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.
Asst. Director, Press & Public Relations
Lagos State Ministry of Health (Nigeria)