*FG says no cause for alarm
By Chinyere Amalu
ABUJA: Nigeria has recorded the first case of the dreaded Influenza A(HIN1) known as Swine Flu. It was discovered on an America girl, aged nine years, residing in Lagos State.
The Federal Ministry of Health, which announced this development in a statement Wednesday, however urged all Nigerians not to panic over the incident.
â€œWe want to reassure all Nigerians that there is no need to panic and that the Ministry is working together with our Partners and all the Statesâ€™ Ministries of Health to make sure that Nigerians are protected from the pandemicâ€.
The statement singed by Niyi Ojuolape, Special Adviser (Communications) to the Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osuntimehin reads; â€œthe Federal Ministry of Health hereby announces that the first case of the Influenza A(H1N1) otherwise called Swine Flu has been reported in Nigeria of a 9 year old female American girl residing in Lagos.
â€œThe girl had presented with flu like symptoms of fever, sore throat, nasal congestion and nausea to the American Consular clinic in Lagos and before treatment was started, nasal specimens were taken for routine testing. Subsequently, the girl recovered fully with symptomatic treatment after 5 days of duration of illness.
â€œFurther to checks in this regard, it has been confirmed that the father, brother and all school contacts of the girl did not suffer from any flu-like symptoms and they are all well. The mother had mild symptoms but recovered fully.
â€œAll other contacts have been tested and they have been found negative to the Influenza A(H1N1). No other school pupil or person in the girlâ€™s school has flu like symptoms or is absent from school because of any illness.
â€œThe Lagos State Ministry of Health where the instant case occurred is aware of the case and further contact tracing, screening and active surveillance carried out by the state has shown that there is no other reported case so far.
â€œThe Federal Ministry of Health and all the Statesâ€™ Ministries of Health have strengthened their preparedness and response plans and have put in place enhanced surveillance to pick up and contain any case that may occur. Indeed, all 36 Statesâ€™ Epidemiologists are currently meeting in Kaduna to fine-tune the countryâ€™s coordinated response to possible outbreaks of epidemics.
â€œTo arrest any eventuality, the Federal Ministry of Health has prepositioned in all the 36 states and FCT, adequate quantities of Tamiflu, the antiviral drug for treatment and other medical supplies for containment of cases of the Influenza.
â€œThe Federal Ministry of Health has also strengthened and intensified expanded public awareness and sensitization campaigns to improve public awareness and knowledge about the pandemic in order to further prevent or contain the influenza pandemic.
â€œIn this regard also, the Federal Government is making strenuous efforts to procure vaccines in conjunction with the WHO
â€œWe want to reassure all Nigerians that there is no need to panic and that the Ministry is working together with our Partners and all the Statesâ€™ Ministries of Health to make sure that Nigerians are protected from the pandemic.
â€œFederal Ministry of Health recommends routine precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as washing your hands with soap and water often, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneezeâ€.