In the wake of reported cases of Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in some of the neighbouring West African countries like Guinea and Liberia, Lagos State has stressed 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, are necessary in order to reduce the risk of infection, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, has said.
Idris, who disclosed this in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday, also advised health workers to be at 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.
Idris explained that Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus, which natural reservoir of virus is not completely known, stressing that fruit bats have been considered to be the natural host of the virus.
He said: “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.”
The commissioner noted that those at the highest risk of the disease include health workers and families or friends of an infected person who could be infected in the course of feeding, holding and caring for them.
Idris stressed that Ebola virus disease should be suspected in persons who develop 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.
He said: “Early symptoms of 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.”
The Commissioner 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.
He said: “The Government of Lagos State in collaboration with 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.”