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Group kick-starts Lassa Fever sensitisation campaign •Details of Lassa Fever signs, symptoms, prevention/treatment

By News Express on 30/01/2016

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Junior Chamber International Nigeria (JCIN), Ikeja THE LEGACY BUILDER, has launched an online programme to sensitise Nigerians and Diaspora Africans on the deadly disease Lassa Fever. Kick-started yesterday, January 29, the programme sees JCIN joining hands with renowned Nigerians and world health authorities to educate on good health and well being.

The campaign features an interactive segment on Twitter for easy communication. Local Organization President of JCIN, Ikeja, Olamide Akin Balogun, said in a statement that the #KickLassaFeverOutCampaign Online Campaign is part of the organisation’s commitment to expand global sensitisation of Lasa Fever and contribute to public good health and well being. He explained that the programme is being hosted by JCIN, Global Impact Ambassador, Medicaid Diagnostics, and Bring Back our Girls Group, Kebbi State, Host (health matters on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM).

According to the statement, “Among the contributors and moderators of the online discussion are agents of change, such as: Pascal Dike, Junior Chamber International World President; Amb. Olatunji Oyeyemi, JCI Nigeria National President; Amb. Olamide Akin Balogun, David Eka Jnr., Global Impact Ambassador, Local Organisation President, JCIN Ikeja; Dr Zainab Shinkafi, Wife of Kebbi State Governor; Juliet Offiah, Host, Health Matters on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM; Aisha Yesufu, Leader of the BBOG Group; Amb. Henry Adedokun, Executive Vice President, South West Nigeria; Amb. Adetola Juyitan, National Vice President, South West Nigeria, and All Medic Aid Diagnostics Center doctors.”

Lassa Fever was first discovered in the 1950s but the cause of the deadly fever was not identified until 1969. It is mainly found in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria and is spread by rats. Other neighboring countries are also at risk because the type of rat that spreads the virus is also found throughout the West African region. Due to the clinical course of the disease is so variable, detection of the disease in affected patients has been difficult but prompt isolation of affected patients, good infection protection and control practices and rigorous contact tracing can stop outbreaks.

Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus from exposure to urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever. There is no epidemiological evidence supporting airborne spread between humans. The JCIN Ikeja statement explained as follows:

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LASSA FEVER

The signs and symptoms of Lassa fever commonly happen 1-3 weeks after a person has come into contact with the virus. For most of those with a Lassa fever virus infection; around 80%, symptoms are mild and under-diagnosed. Mild symptoms include: Weakness, Headaches, Slight fever, General malaise, Repeated vomiting, Respiratory distress, Pain in the back, chest and abdomen, Facial swelling

DIAGNOSIS OF LASSA FEVER

The symptoms of Lassa fever are varied and non-specific, clinical diagnosis is often difficult, especially early in the course of the disease. Definitive diagnosis requires testing that is available only in specialised laboratories. Laboratory specimens may be hazardous and must be handled with extreme care. Lassa virus infections can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory using the following tests:

Antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Antigen detection tests, Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, Virus isolation by cell culture.

TREATMENT/ PREVENTION OF LASSA FEVER

‘Ribavirin,’ is an antiviral drug that has been used with success in people affected by Lassa fever in its early stage.

Supportive care that consists of maintenance of:

Oxygenation, Blood pressure, Treatment of complicating infections, Appropriate fluid and electrolyte balance. Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats. Because Mastomys are so abundant in endemic areas, it is not possible to completely eliminate them from the environment. Family members should always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.

Lassa fever should be considered in febrile patients returning from West Africa, especially if they have had exposures in rural areas or hospitals in countries where Lassa fever is known to be endemic. Healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa fever should immediately contact local and national experts for advice and to arrange for laboratory testing.

Source News Express

Posted 30/01/2016 3:39:05 PM

 

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