Lagos Alerts On E-Coli Epidemic Outbreak

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Against the backdrop of reported cases of the E-Coli infections in parts of Europe, the Lagos State Government has called on the appropriate authorities to mount surveillance at the nation’s borders to ensure that the deadly disease does not spread to the country.           

The term ‘E-coli’ is an abbreviation for Escherichia Cole.  E-coli is a bacteria that causes severe cramps and diarrhea as well as severe health complications and had so far killed scores of people in Europe.           

Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Mrs. Odebunmi Dominga said at the weekend that though the outbreak had not occurred in Nigeria, there was the need for governments at all levels to mount surveillance at the borders to ensure that vegetables such as lettuce and others imported into the country were tested to ensure that they were free from the disease.           

Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, South West Nigeria, Dominga stated that the disease could be very deadly if not detected on time and called on Lagosians to be on the alert if they observe certain symptoms associated with the diseases.

            According to her, the symptoms included nausea or vomiting, watery bloody diarrhea, cramps and fever, adding that the infection comes mainly from eating uncooked ground beef, drinking contaminated water, drinking unpasteurised milk, working with cattle and lack of hygiene.           

She stated that the origin of the outbreak remains unknown, but said the current spread of the infection was from Europe, Germany in particular, while caseshad been recorded in the last few days in India, meaning that the infection was transcending the continent of Europe.           

Dominga quoted Mr. Segun Ekundayo, an official of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, NIFST as saying recently at an event that there was the need to focus on prevention of diseases and poisoning from processing of food from farms and that there was a need for implementation of strategies to regularly review and assess the situation.           

“Though it can be a serious health problem, it does not require any special treatment except drinking a lot of water and watching out for complications.           

“Unless prescribed by a qualified medical doctor, do not take medicines to stop the diarrhea.  This medicine, if taken without proper medical advice, might keep the intestine from getting rid of the E-coli germ,” she said.           

“Members of the public are hereby enjoined to watch out for any of the symptoms and report suspected cases to the nearest hospitals.  In all, attitudinal change towards personal hygiene is vital in preventing any form of disease; it all starts from home, work place, market and other places where we interact,” she added.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga