Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lassa Fever: All You Need To Know

I got this publication in the office memo and it is worth sharing to save lives.

Lassa Fever

  1. Lassa fever is an acute viral infection caused by the Lassa virus.
  2. Everyone must take special care as Lassa fever is common to West Africa and it is an endemic disease in Nigeria.
  3. The United States Centers for Control and Prevention states that the viral disease was first discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in a village in Nigeria.
  4. The agency states that the virus is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred.
  5. There is a recent outbreak in Nigeria over the past 7weeks, which has claimed 40 lives.
  6. 17 of the 36 states in Nigeria have been affected by this and a total of 397 cases have been reported, out of which 87 have been confirmed.
  7. The reservoir, or host, of Lassa virus is a rodent known as the multimammate rat of the genus Mastomys. It is not certain which species of Mastomys are associated with Lassa; however, at least two species carry the virus in some countries.
  8. It is also spread by direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces or other bodily secretions of a person with Lassa fever. In short, those who contract this virus must have touched or eaten something that had been touched by an infected rat
  9. Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus from exposure to urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
  10. There is no scientific evidence supporting airborne spread between humans.
  11. Person-to-person transmission occurs in both community and health-care settings, where the virus may be spread by contaminated medical equipment, such as re-used needles.
  12. Sexual transmission of Lassa virus has been reported.
  13. Lassa fever occurs in all age groups and both sexes.
  14. Persons at greatest risk are those living in rural areas where Mastomys are usually found, especially in communities with poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.

Symptoms

  1. As in Ebola, the symptoms of Lassa fever occur one to three weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. Its general symptoms may include general malaise, weakness, and headache in mild cases but quickly adds that when untreated, the infection may progress to respiratory distress, bleeding in the gums, repeated vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back and abdomen as well as shock.
  2. Neurological problems such as hearing loss, tremours, and encephalitis are symptoms of severe cases and if left untreated, death may occur within two weeks after symptom onset due to multi-organ failure in an infected person.
  3. The most common complication of Lassa fever is deafness. Various degrees of deafness occur in approximately one-third of infections, and in many cases hearing loss is permanent. As far as is known, severity of the disease does not affect this complication: deafness may develop in mild as well as in severe cases.
  4. Death usually occurs within 14 days of onset in severe cases. The disease is worse in pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Prevention

  1. Preventing Lassa fever is first about knowing the source. The disease is spread by exposure to and eating of food contaminated with rat dropping or urine.
  2. Store food, cooking utensils and drinking water properly in rodent-proof containers.
  3. Keep homes clean and discourage rodent entry. Block all rat hideouts.
  4. Using rodent as food source is discouraged.
  5. Clean traps and dispose carcass neatly.
  6. “Soaking of Garri” as a meal should be discouraged for now.
  7. “Tasting of raw food” in the markets before purchases should be discouraged for now.
  8. Cook all foods thoroughly
  9. If you suspect that rat has eaten any food, discard it
  10. Hand washing with soap and running water regularly.
  11. Early treatment and proper fever management can improve survival chances. Report all suspected cases to appropriate Health Authorities.

I think the information above should help.

Do the needful.

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Just Believe

Originally posted on The Experience Series on The Exceller Blog.

Luke 1:37

For with God, nothing shall be impossible.

Laboratory-Project

I have always seen the higher institution as a laboratory scale of the world. It is mini society that tells you about the bigger society, a microcosm. It tells the present and gives hints about the future. It prepares you for life outside the walls of the school. You are far away from your family. Even if you stay with them, you are constantly being influenced by the new interactions in school. New ideas come into your peripheral and your mind is meant to accept, adjust or reject these ideas. You are exposed but it is a race that you are expected to finish. The higher institution is like a race. A good number of students finish the school race but how well did they finish?

I will share with you a good number of things that were key in my years as a student in the higher institution. Today, I will look at one – BELIEVE.

To believe is to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so. – dictionary.reference.com

To believe is (a) to have a firm religious faith, (b) to accept something as true or real, (c) to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something. – Merriam-webstar.com

The two definitions above tells you all you need to know about believe. I am more excited about some key words in the definitions – Confidence, truth, real, conviction, proof.

Synonyms:

Accept, admit, be certain of, be convinced of, have faith in, have no doubt in, rest assured, take as gospel, trust

So many of us came into school and the first info that hits one is the stories of people that failed. You may even have met one of them outside school. Fear may have been planted in you especially if you are doing a “hard” course. People try to sell their ideas and plans to you all mixed up with their weaknesses and fear.

I read Chemical Engineering and the message I got from the returning students during my clearance was not encouraging. There was always this “hmmm… chemical hard oh”. But I didn’t build my belief on those discouraging words. I took my course outline and scanned through all the courses I will need to pass before I can be awarded with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

One key information that caught my attention was the grade points and how they were grouped. I immediately fell in love with the upper echelon – First class. At first I asked myself if it was possible. 4.5 over 5 GP can be translated to 90% pass mark. It looked difficult. But on further investigation I realized that I needed to get just 70% per course to achieve a 5/5. Is that not possible? If you can get 45%, you can get 50%. If you can get 65%, you can get 70%. Why settle for less when a little effort can push you a little higher.

While scanning through the outline, I knew about the various periods of internship. I pictured myself in three different firms for those three periods. I believed I will do my internship in firms like them. I did two-third of my internship just as I said to myself in first year. Speak positively to yourself and believe.  Believe

I saw the task, I believed I will succeed. I was only sure of my first year school fees, but I believed it will be taken care of. By who? I didn’t need to worry myself. Cultism is real; I believed I was invisible. This course is difficult; I believed it was a no – brainer. I believed against beliefs. I saw things from another perspective – the positive perspective. I had to think positively in the midst of negativity.

Antonyms:

Disbelieve, distrust, mistrust, reject, question, doubt, discredit, dispute.

In my very first month in school, a certain higher level guy said to me: “You can’t make it in this school if you do not go to night class”. That was heavy but I didn’t believe him. I believed otherwise. I never went to any night class and I made it. They are so many other examples but I didn’t just stop at believing. I had to make some decisions. We will talk about those decisions in subsequent posts.

One of the first step to getting closer to God is to believe in him (John 3:16). This is applicable to our everyday life. You need to first believe that you can make it. You need to believe that you will arrive safe, you would finish in time, you will achieve your goal, you will receive an alert, you will pass that course. Just believe.

Mark 9:23

Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth

If you have committed all into His hands, it will be wise for you to worry not. If you have not, it is never too late. He will lead you if you ask him to. Just believe in Him. Put your confidence in him.

John 14:1

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Be free. Don’t limit yourself. Just Believe. Do you know who you are?

Tales from FEGO: Resumption Sunday

After the holidays and celebrations, normal life is expected to return. Workers return to work, students return to school and life continues. For the average student, Monday is the regular resumption day. This is specifically for Primary and Day schools, not boarding schools.  My first ever resumption day in FEGO was on a Friday as an unknown quantity in September 1998. Other resumption days turned out to be Sundays.

FEGO Gate - Copy

I had travelled back to Odogbolu that Sunday morning after coming back early from Church. I had to join another FEGO colleague who lived in the same vicinity. They had a car and it was a free ride for me. Before leaving home, I confirmed my list to be sure I had all I needed to survive till the next break. The ride was long. I can’t remember if I dozed off or counted the trees along the Lagos – Ijebu-Ode expressway. We arrived at about 2pm when the sun was high, smiling scorching-ly on mankind.

So there we were, in front of the great FEGO. It was a different scenario for me compared to the first time I came into FEGO. Last time the gates were wide open, but that Sunday the school gates were closed. It was the beginning of a new term. Motorists and motorcyclists were not allowed in. Thorough checks were to be made. We had to find a place to park and get our luggage out of the car in preparation for the checkpoints after the gate. The gate was crowded with all manner of persons – returning students, parents, staffs, hawkers, sellers, buyers, helpers, motorcyclists, motorists, conductors, etc.

Every student was expected to carry their luggage, with the help of friends and family to one of the four checkpoints at the beginning of the Third Mainland Road. The Third Mainland Road was the major road that linked the school gate to the Administrative blog. Same road is connected to every other road on the school except Jamaica and Ikoyi roads. No one officially leaves the school without passing the Third Mainland Road – little wonder it was named Third Mainland Road.

I carried my luggage to the Cross house checkpoint. There were 4 checkpoints at the gate – one for each of the 4 houses. You could easily identify your house by the colours worn by the officials or students around the checkpoints. Each checkpoint had a minimum of two canopies, 2 dining hall tables and 2 dining benches. You could see the house master, house captain, officials and room heads trying to check through luggage and verify that the student came with some major item. If the item was not found, he/she was to go back to the gate where it may be bought.

The captains and officials arrived a day before. They usually have a meeting about the logistics of the Resumption Sunday. Chores are assigned to the officials to make the day go smoothly. If you want to resume badly, come on Saturday – you will mega gidi-ed unless you are Rent-a-ghost. The best time to arrive is on Sunday morning when the officials are yet to get themselves together. You can bypass the checkpoint and go about your business till they are ready. You can return when you like and get yourself checked in on trust.

Another good reason of returning on Sunday morning is the high possibility of finding your lost items. Theft is regular and high in boarding school – I once resumed with 4 pieces of white shirt, I went back home with just one. I have found a good number of my lost items on Resumption Sundays. These items include – buckets, hangers, shirts, bowls, cutlass, hoes, mattress, books, etc. But you must be brave and quick because it involves ransacking the whole school – including the senior blocks. While you are on that expedition, you can also add to your arsenal *winks*

Back to the checkpoint, my bag was checked for contrabands (Sardine, Noodles, Spaghetti, Electric Irons etc.). They found none because I brought none. They verified if my cutlery and labour implement were available. I showed them. One time I had to tell them it was in my Guardian’s house. Almost everyone had a guardian, who had many functions. That will be a post for another day.

The officials loved parents coming around the checkpoints. It was an opportunity to be legal school fathers and mothers. It was also an avenue to enrich their pockets and provide information for the parent of their students. It was a point where they feign responsibilities so as to gain recognition from the parents. It was just a meeting point. Play your game well, and you become a parent’s favourite.

After the checkpoint comes the long walk to your hostel carrying your luggage. You may be helped by some hustlers. At the entrance of your hostel, you may be mobbed by seniors and Bonjehs. They want money and the meat in your food flask. Sometimes I wonder if they didn’t partake in the holidays. If you survive them, you will face another task of debris, dust and dirt in your room which you need to clear starting from your corner. The final task of the day will be getting your other stuffs from wherever you kept them – Space, guardian’s house, kitchen, town etc. You surely should have kept your provisions well away. You will need them when the heat is on.

The Sunday begins to round up with the first bell of the term – the evening food bell. Attendance that evening in the dining hall is usually paltry but the bell reminds you that you are no longer home. You are back to the land of adventures. You need to switch mode ASAP. Law and order is at minimum and thus freedom is exercised till sleep is activated by nature. A couple of gist here and there, light and heavy laughter from all angles makes the end of Resumption Sunday.

On the other side of the night comes Monday, the resumption day for the Day students. They never fully enjoyed the fun of being in FEGO but a little fun is better than none.

Mr. Balo is coming.  *…races through the corridor to the hostel gate, with my belt and socks in my hand…*