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Swine flu: No cause for alarm, say Lagos, NEMA

By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Chioma Obinna & Emma Ovuakporie
The Lagos State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have assured Nigerians not to panic over the newly reported outbreak of H1N1 popularly known as Swine flu as there is enough Tamiflu to contain the virus in the unlikely event of a spread.

Tamiflu is a anti-viral drug to restrict severity of the disease and its spread.

To this effect, the Lagos State government,in collaboration with the Federal Government, has set up a joint committee on border patrol.

Confirming the first reported case of the disorder in Lagos at a joint media briefing yesterday, state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, and the Commissioner for Health, Dr, Jide Idris, said surveillance had been intensified in all the local government areas in the state.

Idris said the female patient who had fever, sore throat, congestion and nausea was treated on  out-patient basis which lasted five days and all tests carried on contacts were negative.

Allaying any fear over possible spread of the virus, he urged residents to report suspected cases to the nearest health centre through these hotlines: 08033329327, 08023228573’ 08023044194 or the emergency number 767.

Reeling out preventive measures, he advised Lagosians “to wash hands with soap and water frequently, cover your mouth, nose with handkerchief or tissue when coughing or sneezing and ensure proper ventilation in all living, resting and work rooms.”

He ruled out the possibility of the reported case coming into the country through the footballers and officials who are currently in Nigeria.

He listed signs and symptoms of the virus to include; fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose, and fatigue, saying these symptoms could be associated with other conditions which means that only a doctor can confirm A/H1N1 influenza.

His words: “At present, the main route of transmission is via respiratory droplets, which is if you cough or sneeze without covering your nose and mouth, you send germs into the air for others around to inhale and become sick.

“As part of the public enlightenment campaign, we have commenced jingles in Yoruba, English, Egun, distribution of posters, sensitisation/training of disease surveillance officers,” he said.

Meanwhile, NEMA Director-General, AVM Mohammed Audu-Bida (rtd)  said NEMA had made contacts with the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide vaccines in preparedness for the pandemic in case of any eventuality.

He explained, among other things, that the Nigerian Immigration Services, the Ports Authority and other related and line agencies were to be on the lookout at their duty post  so that no carrier is allowed into the country without proper treatment and or quarantine.


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