Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said that State government has scaled up its emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases through implementation of policies on bio-security and bio-banking.

Lagos State Government has once again reiterated the need for citizens to maintain high standard of personal and environmental hygiene at all times as part of the measures to prevent the outbreak of epidemics, especially the spread of gastroenteritis-vomiting and diarrhoea which has been reported in the State.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health, who stated this yesterday while reviewing the situation report of cases of the gastroenteritis-vomiting and diarrhoea recorded in the State during the weekly biosecurity update meeting disclosed that 117 cases of the disease had been seen at health facilities in five local government area.

“Following the report of these cases, Rapid Response Teams at the affected LGAs led by the Medical Officers of Health were activated, stool specimen were collected for laboratory test to confirm the micro-organism causing the vomiting and diarrhoea while surveillance have also been scaled up in communities within the affected LGAs to stop the spread of the infection while results of the investigation is being awaited,” he said.

He stated that the local government areas where cases have been reported are Lagos Island, Ajeromi, Apapa, Mushin and Ikeja adding that out of the 117 cases reported, 109 have been treated and discharged.

Abayomi noted that the increase in number of cases of gastroenteritis is not unconnected with persistent rain with flooding of some LGAs in the State. He indicated that the state government through Rapid Response Teams is however providing information for members of the affected community and the public on personal hygiene and environmental sanitation to halt the spread of the infection.

The Commissioner explained that gastroenteritis is caused by micro-organisms like those causing typhoid fever, cholera and certain viruses adding that it can be contacted by eating or drinking contaminated foods such as uncooked seafood or shellfish from estuarine waters.

He averred that lack of access to safe water and food supplies, attending large gatherings of people including ceremonies such as weddings or funerals and contact with persons who died of gastroenteritis are other pre-disposing factors to contacting the infection.

The Commissioner also advised health workers to ensure that they take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients stressing that they must practice good hand washing techniques and report any alarming increase in cases gastroenteritis-vomiting and diarrhoea to the Medical Officer of Health in their local government or the Directorate of Disease Control through these lines: 08023169485 and 08023608195.

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