Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Anambra state commissioner for health, Dr.Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala, has expressed the determination of the state government to respond to any outbreak of diseases threatening public health.
This is coming on the heels of a suspected Lassa Fever case in the state.
The commissioner who held an elaborate press conference at the weekend to brief journalists on the level of preparedness of the state ministry of health to respond to emergencies, said the health emergency response team of the state responded to the notification of a suspected case of Lassa Fever.
He said the ministry of health followed the national guidelines in managing the case from isolation and sample collection to sample testing and the result of the laboratory testing came out positive for Lassa Fever.
Okpala noted that with aforestated development, Anambra state now has an index case of Lassa Fever which he said was safely transported to the viral centre in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state.
According to him, in continuation of the state’s response to the index case, the Anambra State Government activated what he mentioned as Public Health Emergency Operations Centre and the centre is operating under the direction of the national coordination centre.
He however stated, “We want to reassure the citizens of the state that we are prepared for emergency situations. The state ministry of health and its partners in the emergency operations centre have taken all the necessary precautions for managing situations.”
The commissioner said citizens of the state need to be aware of the basic precautionary measures to take to protect themselves at home, school, market places, places of worship and so on, noting that Lassa Fever is spread through direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.
He also pointed out that contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats could also trigger off Lassa Fever as well as person to person transmission by contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of an infected person.
Okpala therefore advised that any healthcare worker who suspected Lassa Fever case, should contact the local government disease surveillance and notification officer nearest to him or her to access care in the country.
He also stressed that Lassa Fever presents itself like any other illnesses such as malaria and its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, chest pain as well as bleeding from ears, eyes, nose and other body openings.