Residents of Igbogbo and Ajara, in Lagos State, now live in fear of rabies (a fatal disease caused by dog bite) after it killed two within the last two weeks.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who confirmed the incident, yesterday, said two persons have died at the Lagos State University,
(LASUTH), Ikeja and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos.
A 49-year old-man, from Igbogbo, Ikorodu area of the state, whose name he de- clined to mention, died at the LASUTH penultimate Wednesday after admission.
The second victim, a 33-year-old man, who died last Monday, lived in Ajara, Badagry, was said to have been bitten by a dog, six months earlier.
Rabies is a severe viral dis- ease of the central nervous system. It is chiefly a disease of wild mammals, but, it can occasionally affect humans. Animals with rabies shed the virus in their saliva. If a saliva from an infected ani- mal gets into a break in a per- son’s skin, most commonly through a bite or on mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose), that person might become infected.
Its vaccine, administered after possible exposure, is highly effective at prevent- ing progression to rabies. However, once an infected person develops symptoms of rabies, there is no effective treatment and the infected person will likely die within a few days.
Most cases of rabies occur in bats. It is also occasion- ally detected in other wild animals such as skunks and foxes. The disease is rarely identified in domestic ani- mals such as dogs and cats, but can occur if they are bit- ten by a rabid wild animal.
The disease can be pre- vented by avoiding contact with unfamiliar animals. If a person is bitten by an animal, he should report the bite to the local health department or animal control agency. Wash the bite wound thor- oughly with soap and water as soon as possible. If some- one is concerned that he may have been exposed to rabies, he should contact the health care provider.
It is important to protect pets from rabies. Pets should not be allowed to have contact with wild or unfamiliar animals. They should be confined inside owner’s property or under control when off the property. Veterinarian should be seen regularly to ensure that pets remain in good health and is up-to-date on rabies vaccination. All dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has reportedly directed that Queens College, Yaba, which was shut after two girls died after alleged cholera out- break, not to resume until appropriate measures are put in place for students’ safety.
Dr. Idris said after the inci- dent, a joint team of experts from the Lagos State Minis- try of Health and LUTH in- vestigated the incident.
“Available health records from the sick bay indicated that the date of onset of ill- ness was January 16, 2017. The total number of students presented at the clinic on ac- count of abdominal pain, fe- ver, vomiting and diarrhoea was 1,222 from the date of presentation to the last date.
“There were four different peak periods of infection, the highest peak was January 31, 2017. 16 ill cases were admit- ted in various hospitals. nine have been discharged, two died while one is still on admission at the Intensive Care Unit of LASUTH and three in LUTH.”
He disclosed that water samples from six sources in the school premises were collected and analysed at the Drug Quality Control Labo- ratory of Lagos State Min- istry of Health at LASUTH, Ikeja.
Another set of water sam- ples from 10 sources were also collected and analysed at the Microbiology Depart- ment of LUTH, Idi-Araba.
“Results from the two laboratories showed high bacteria content in the water samples from the kitchen, behind the Dinning Hall and Queen’s Delight, the school water factory.”
He also revealed that the stool specimens collected from 40 kitchen staff and findings from the investiga- tion were consistent with enteric fever, the infection was most likely spread through contaminated water sources and infection by food handlers.
He implored Lagosians to follow the general health promotion and disease prevention measures, he also urged them to report unusual disease occurrence to the nearest public health facility.