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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1

From Ebola to Lassa: We must always be prepared

The Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Sciences, The Office of the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication2-Feb-2016

Correspondence Address:
Elaine C Azinge
The Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Sciences, The Office of the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos,
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1595-9587.175485

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How to cite this article:
Azinge EC. From Ebola to Lassa: We must always be prepared. J Clin Sci 2016;13:1

How to cite this URL:
Azinge EC. From Ebola to Lassa: We must always be prepared. J Clin Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Jun 2];13:1. Available from: https://www.jcsjournal.org/text.asp?2016/13/1/1/175485

We welcome our readers to a happy and prosperous new year. This year, 2016, the Journal of Clinical sciences will become a quarterly journal so as to meet up with the expectations of readers and authors.

The work of Adenekan et al. in this issue titled, “emergency preparedness among health workers” has ironically coincided with what seems like an upsurge of Lassa fever in the country. This study has underlined the deficiencies which exist in the knowledge of health workers to handle emergency situations.[1]

We survived and contained the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014 which claimed the lives of young and upcoming health workers, nurses, and doctors including our beloved Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, a 1-time member of this faculty. We need to be more proactive concerning strengthening the health care system in readiness for any health emergency that may occur. The Ministry of Health must ensure that barrier nursing and infection control practices are upgraded in all health facilities.

As we write this article, a doctor and forty one others have been reported dead from Lassa fever in the different parts of Nigeria. Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease which got its name from Lassa, a town in Borno State of Nigeria where two missionary workers died of the disease and from where the disease was first characterized to be caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the Arenaviridae family, a virus which is zoonotic or animal borne.[2]

Lassa fever is endemic in West Africa, so there is a need to be careful with this current epidemic. The reservoir of the Lassa virus is the multimammate rat, Mastomys natalensis, which is found throughout West Africa.[2] People may get the disease by eating food contaminated with rat feces and urine. Health workers usually get infected through the blood and secretions of infected persons. Symptoms of Lassa fever occur after a prodromal period of 1–3 weeks. These symptoms may include fever, malaise, headache, and weakness which if not treated may progress to respiratory difficulties, bleeding gums, vomiting, facial edema, pain in the chest and back, and the patient may subsequently go into shock.[3]

This is also a wake-up call to renewed implementation of serious environmental hygiene. There is a need to revive the old system of sanitary inspectors in the country, a system which, to the best of my knowledge worked and ensured good environmental hygiene in the postcolonial era in Nigeria. Incentives such as prizes were awarded to the cleanest compounds and facilities at local government level.

The present nonsupervised environmental sanitation which takes place on the last saturday of every month needs some form of supervision to be effective. Waste disposal must also be improved upon.

There is a need for awareness programs on the social media, and Lassa fever should be suspected in any fever which does not respond to the usual first-line treatments for malaria and other causes of fever.

We must put back all the principles of hygiene we put in place for Ebola. The hand sanitizers must be back in our possession, washing of hands and keeping food covered and protected from rats are vital. We must cease to view rats as harmless co-occupiers of our homes. This way, Lassa like Ebola will be contained.

We have seven other interesting articles and one case report. We wish our readers happy reading for a prosperous 2016.

  References Top

Adenekan BA, Balogun MR, Inem V. Knowledge, attitude and practices of emergency health workers toward emergency preparedness and management in two hospitals in Lagos. J Clin Sci 2016;13:23-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
Lassa fever fact sheet. Centres for disease control prevention. CDC24/7. Available from: www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa.  Back to cited text no. 2
Omilabu SA, Badaru SO, Okokhere P, Asogun D, Drosten C, Emmerich P. et al. Lassa fever Nigeria, 2003 and 2004 (letter). Emerg Infect Dis Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 20].  Back to cited text no. 3


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