Gastroenteritis Epidemic: Health Workers Advise Public on Preventive Measures

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Two health officials in Lagos State on Sunday advised members of the public on steps to tackle the outbreak of waterborne gastroenteritis (stomach) disease in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there has been incidences of stomach disorder that has left many children hospitalised in Ajegunle area of the state.

The officials, in separate interviews with NAN in Lagos, said the preventive measure was key.

Mr TaiwoAwonuga, the President of Lagos Chapter of Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), advised residents to clean and disinfect vomit and faecal spillages promptly.

“We have to increase the frequency of routine environmental inspection and in cleaning, including toilets, bathrooms and the surrounding.

“Particular attention has to be given to cleaning objects that are frequently touched such as faucets, door handles and bed rails.

“Environmental services and waste management department personnel should wear gown, gloves and a surgical or procedure mask when cleaning surface soiled with vomitus and faecal material.

“The use of approved disinfectant, freshly prepared sodium hypochlorite solution to disinfect the surface contaminated with faeces or vomitus is highly recommended,’’ Awonuga said.

According to him, the reliability of disinfectant, other than those containing chlorine to kill the norovirus, is uncertain.

“So, chlorine containing hypochlorite is recommended for use whenever is possible.’’

Mr Aroe Adesola, the state Public Relations Officer of EHOAN, decried the outbreak as epidemic and advised people to maintain a clean culture and ensure their homes were cross-ventilated.

“Clean carpets and soft furnishing with hot water and detergents or stream clean, dry vacuuming is not recommended.

“Open defecation and channelisation of faecal matters into public drain need to be discouraged out rightly, while offenders should be prosecuted.

“Hand washing should be encouraged after visiting toilets and before handling of food,’’ Adesola told NAN.

According to him, water samples are being collected in the affected areas for analysis at the Drug Quality Control Laboratory, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH),  for effective control.

He enjoined the public to notify the appropriate Environmental Services/Primary Health Care Department of any suspected case.

Adesola said that advocacy and health education on the importance of personal and food hygiene would be intensified.


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