From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
In its bid to ensure that Lagos continue to remain Ebola free, the State Government has called on residents of the State to be mindful of what they do, eat and drink during the yuletide period, saying that since the season is noted for wining, dining and visiting of relations and friends, particularly those coming from other countries, it becomes imperative to be on the alert.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who stated this over the weekend urged residents to observe good personal and environmental hygiene and follow advice given by the State Government on the prevention of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
According to him, “presently, there is no active case of Ebola in the country but Ebola is still a threat as its presence in neigbouring West Africa countries puts the nation at risk, this is why we need to be on the alert and observe a high degree of personal and environmental hygiene especially during this season of celebrations to prevent the disease from resurfacing in the country.’’
Idris advised citizens to take basic precautionary measures against the disease by washing their hands with soap and water frequently, particularly after touching sick people; avoiding direct contact with body fluids like saliva, vomit, stool, semen, vaginal fluids and urine of suspected persons and avoid eating fruits half eaten by animals.
The Commissioner also urged citizens to cook all foods particularly meat thoroughly before eating, clean all surfaces that have been contaminated with body secretions with bleach or detergents and desist from sharing sharp objects such as needles and razor blade.
“Please, do not defecate or urinate indiscriminately and notify health authorities of anyone coming from any West African Country into your community. Be assured that the State Government is still carrying out active search for cases while follow-up on rumoured cases are on- going and we will keep providing you with update and disease prevention messages”, Idris stated.
He explained that Ebola is caused by a virus that is transmitted to man by fruits bats and wild animals, adding that it is spread by handling or undercooking infected meat and having close contact with secretions like blood, urine, semen, saliva, vomits and breast milk of an infected person.
The Commissioner added that signs and symptoms of the disease include unexplained fever that does not respond to the usual treatment, intense weakness, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea which may be accompanied by bleeding from body openings like the ear, nose, mouth and anus.
Idris posited that EVD is not a death sentence, stressing that a sizeable number of those who contracted the disease are still alive, but warned that herbal remedies have not been proven to be efficacious.
While urging health workers to keep observing the universal safety precautions when dealing with patients, the Commissioner noted that early detection of the disease and care can save lives.