By Haruna Gimba with agency report
The Lagos State Government has confirmed that measles has led to death of 20 children in Otodo-Gbame community in Ikate, Lekki area of the state.
Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris told newsmen in Lagos that the results of laboratory investigations confirmed that measles virus was the cause of the epidemic of the Febrile Rash Illness (FRI) as the condition was initially described.
“All the five blood samples taken to the Central Public Health Laboratory, Yaba, tested positive for IgM, a blood marker for recent infection with measles virus.
“In addition, four throat swabs and one blood sample investigated at the Virology Reference Laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), indicated the presence of measles virus through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique,” he said.
Dr. Idris said children from the affected community had missed out during the previous measles immunisation due to mass emigration to Lagos from neighbouring states; who settled in some rural far-to-reach areas in the state.
“This is without the knowledge of the state government and because the areas are unplanned, there may not be proper potable water supply for drinking and toilet facilities for urination and defecation.
“Besides, there are several cases of open defecation in the area and the only source of drinking water was contaminated with bacteria, resulting in both infection and spread of diseases,” he said.
However, he said the intensive surveillance and community sensitisation would continue and the state government is conducting mapping of all slum areas in the state toward reducing the health hazards associated with such areas.
“All citizens should continue to practice health promotion and disease prevention measures including basic environmental sanitation, proper disposal of refuse and avoiding open defecation.
“Practice regular hand washing with soap; all pregnant women should attend antenatal care, while all children should be immunised against deadly vaccine-preventable childhood diseases,” he added.
The disease, which broke out in January 2016, had led to panic in the community. News Agency of Nigeria also reports that the affected children, after contracting the ailment, developed rashes and died two or three days after.