The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi on Friday dismissed sensational social media report about the outbreak of Gastroenteritis in the state, saying, out of 400 cases recorded in the state only 11 deaths were recorded while 370 patients have been treated and discharged.
Gastroenteritis is caused by micro-organisms like those causing typhoid fever, cholera and certain viruses. It can be contracted by eating or drinking contaminated foods such as uncooked seafood.
Patients with gastroenteritis present with severe acute watery diarrhoea and profuse vomiting. The disease affects both children and adult and can kill within hours if untreated
Abayomi who spoke in his office described the social media report as misleading, alarming and sensational.
He said the report on some social media platforms about the outbreak of Gastroenteritis that was experienced in the State in the past weeks was in bad fate.
“Of great concern is a voice note currently circulating on Whatsapp which emanated from an unidentified individual purportedly linked to one of our health facilities misinforming the public about the alarming deaths rate occasioned by the disease thus creating fear, we believe this is the handiwork of mischief makers with an intent to deliberately cause panic amongst the populace”
According to him, it is true that an excessive increase in the cases of Gastroenteritis was reported in some local government areas (LGAs) particularly in Lagos Island, Surulere, Mushin and Ajeromi since mid-October but has been put under control as a result of the policies and interventions that the state has put in place.
He explained that as at Friday, 400 cases of gastroenteritis have been recorded in health facilities in the affected LGAS, 370 of the cases have been treated and discharged while 11 deaths have been recorded due to the outbreak.
Abayomi, however, noted that the increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis were not unconnected with persistent rain with flooding of some LGAs in the State.
Continuing, the commissioner said that following the report of the outbreak, Rapid Response Teams at the affected LGAs led by the Medical Officers of Health were activated. “Stool specimens were collected for a 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,” he added.
Appealing for calm, the commissioner said that the misleading reports on social media were made up, spurious, incorrect and do not represent the fact.
He urged Lagosians to disregard any news about the disease that did not emanate from the official communication channels of the Lagos State Government, the Ministry of Health or its officials.
“We have been able to send some samples to our laboratories and some of those samples tested positive for a type of cholera but we are not sure whether cholera is responsible for the entire outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting but we are sending some other samples to other laboratories and we are going to do some in-depth analysis to see whether this is just a case of cholera or whether there are other pathogens or agents that are contributing to this outbreak.
“We have been very proactive in our response and management of the excess cases of vomiting and diarrhoea occasioned by the outbreak. As part of our response, we have activated an emergency operation centre (EOC) which is a command and control centre so that we can fine-tune logistics and resources around our response against the outbreak.
“Since the activation, the EOC which is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Board, Health Service Commission, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), World Health Organization and Central Public Health Laboratory amongst others have been meeting on a daily basis; collating results, reviewing plans and interventions as well as suggesting and coordinating the implementation of measures to effectively curtail the spread of the disease and manage future occurrences promptly and effectively.
“We have also put in place and still carrying out some measures and specific action plans like upgrade of infrastructure in our health facilities especially the PHC level; recruitment of more health workers; increasing the supply of drugs and consumables to health facilities; continuous clearing of drains and improving the supply of clean and potable water to residents, so that in the future, when we have this climatic situation where there are excessive rains, we should be in a better position to respond very quickly even in a very more efficacious way.
“Although, Lagos is prone to seasonal infectious diseases like gastroenteritis because of its demography and low line mega city nature, we will however not relent in our effort to respond to any water-borne or airborne outbreaks that may happen in our State whilst ensuring that citizens remain safe and healthy.
He advised Lagosians to take precautionary measures by paying due attention to personal hygiene and environmental sanitation by keeping their environment clean, avoiding open defecation, ensuring drains are clean and imbibe the culture of regular hand washing.
The Commissioner also urged health workers to take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients.
“For reports, clarification and more information on the outbreak of gastroenteritis, citizens and health workers can contact the Directorate of Disease Control through these lines: 08023169485 and 08023608195.” Nigeria News