Outbreak of Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (Lassa fever) Hits Nigeria Again

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    The Nigerian Army recently confirmed a concerning development within the premises of the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna (NARHK). Reports have surfaced regarding an acute outbreak of Viral Hemorrhagic Disease, a situation that has tragically claimed the lives of several medical staff members working within the hospital.

    Viral Hemorrhagic Disease encompasses a group of illnesses caused by various viruses, characterized by fever and bleeding disorders. These viruses, including Ebola, Lassa fever, and Marburg, can lead to severe illness and have the potential to spread rapidly within communities if not contained effectively.

    The confirmation of this outbreak has prompted swift action from the authorities. The Nigerian Army has mobilized efforts to enforce stringent Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures within and around all military healthcare facilities in Kaduna. These measures are critical to stem further transmission and prevent additional loss of life.

    In response to the suspected outbreak, the hospital has initiated comprehensive protocols. Medical staff, along with their families and other individuals identified through contact tracing, have been placed under appropriate management and observation. As of now, there have been no alarming developments among those monitored.

    Moreover, the entire hospital premises have undergone extensive disinfection procedures. The Accident and Emergency ward of the 44 NARHK has been promptly closed and evacuated to facilitate thorough fumigation, decontamination, and the implementation of additional IPC measures.

    Understanding how Viral Hemorrhagic Diseases spread is paramount in containing outbreaks and protecting public health. These diseases typically transmit through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated materials. Close contact with infected individuals, as well as exposure to contaminated surfaces or objects, poses a significant risk.

    Prevention Methods You can follow to Keep you and Your Family safe

    1. Hand Hygiene: Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is a fundamental practice. If soap and water are unavailable, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content is recommended.

    2. Personal Protective Measures: Wearing masks in situations where maintaining physical distance is challenging can provide an additional layer of protection. It is also crucial to refrain from touching the face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth, to minimize the risk of viral entry.

    3. Environmental Awareness: Regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs and electronic devices, using household disinfectants is essential. Additionally, practicing physical distancing and avoiding close contact with symptomatic individuals are crucial precautions.

    4. Respiratory Hygiene: Employing proper cough etiquette, including covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or the elbow, and promptly disposing of used tissues in a lined trash bin can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets. When tissues are not available, coughing or sneezing into the elbow is recommended.

    5. Stay Informed and Follow Guidelines: Staying updated on the latest developments and adhering to guidance from reliable health sources is paramount. Following recommendations and guidelines provided by local health authorities ensures alignment with the most current information.

    6. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, encompassing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep, supports overall immune function. Adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water also contributes to a resilient immune system.

    7. Seek Medical Attention: Timely reporting of symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, or bleeding disorders, is crucial. Seeking medical attention promptly if these symptoms arise and following prescribed treatments diligently are vital steps in managing potential infections.

    8. Limit Exposure to Wildlife and Livestock: Avoiding direct contact with wild animals, especially in areas with known outbreaks, is advised. When in regions where contact with livestock is common, practicing safe handling and minimizing direct contact with bodily fluids are recommended.

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