The Lagos State Government of Nigeria has alerted resident to the existence of a new virus in the world known as Coronavirus, which has claimed many lives in areas it has so far been reported.
The state government thus called for the observance of a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene in order to reduce the risk of infection as there is no specific treatment for illnesses caused by Coronavirus.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who gave the warning in Lagos, noted that the ways Coronavirus is spread have not been extensively studied but confirmed that it could be transmitted easily from one person to another through coughing and sneezing, close contact such as touching or shaking the hands of an infected person and touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes after touching contaminated objects or surfaces.
Idris explained that human Coronavirus usually causes mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses and can progress to severe respiratory illness and pneumonia, particularly in the aged, young and already ill people, adding that its symptoms include running nose, sore throat, shortness of breath and fever.
He urged residents to suspect Coronavirus in people that develop acute respiratory illnesses with a history of recent travel to areas where the virus has been reported and not responding to appropriate treatment for the listed complaints or a close contact of a symptomatic traveller to areas where the virus has been reported.
He said: “There is no specific treatment for illnesses caused by Coronavirus. Most people with Coronavirus will recover on their own and they may require supportive treatment, which includes staying at home, resting and drinking a lot of fluids. However those that progressed to severe distress will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialised care.”
The commissioner noted that the risk of infection of the virus can be reduced if people observe a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene by often washing the hands with soap and water; not touching the eyes, nose or mouth frequently; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; ensuring that objects used by the sick are sterilised; and avoiding being in an overcrowded place.
Idris therefore enjoined travellers on holy pilgrimage, particularly to Makkah, to get vaccination against meningitis, yellow fever and flu, while adhering to the precautions earlier mentioned.
He said that pregnant women, the very young, the elderly and the very sick who intend to go on pilgrimage should postpone such a trip.
“You can help protect others by staying at home while you are sick, avoiding close contact with others, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, keeping objects and surfaces clean and disinfected,” he admonished.
The commissioner advised health workers to be alert, wear personal protective equipment, observe universal basic precaution when attending to suspected or confirmed cases and report same to any local government or council development area nearest to them or the state Ministry of Health.