The Federal Government (FG) has allerted Nigerians about the outbreak of a fresh killer disease known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in the country.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, at a news conference in Abuja.
According to the minister, one death has already been recorded with another patient responding to treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Adewole, who urged Nigerians not to panic, said the Federal Government was doing everything possible to check the outbreak, describing the health condition as an unusual allergic reaction to medications found in Nigeria and some parts of Europe.
He said: “We have to find a means to communicate with Nigerians, so they should all be aware of this dangerous disease and it is the sole business of the government to enlighten the society by trying to increase their awareness, knowledge and to improve their quality way of life.”
The minister also called on Nigerians to be vigilant and seek urgent medical attention should they notice any sign of a rare disease, adding that the public should be more careful while using medications of all kinds.
Adewole said the call became necessary considering the fact that a sibling of marathoner, Fedeshola Adedayo, died of the ailment, calling for increased awareness in the use of drugs and in the reading of drug leaflets.
Speaking at the press conference, a Senior Consultant Physician/Dermatologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Olanrewaju Falodun, explained the symptoms of the disease and the cases being treated in his hospital.
“SJS is an immune complex mediated hypersensitivity reaction that typically involves the skin and mucous membranes and was first described in 1922 by Albert Stevens and Frank Johnson,” Falodun said
“SJS is a rare and unpredictable reaction, and is also a minor form of toxic epidermal necrolysis with less than 10 per cent body surface area involvement.
“SJS is a rare but serious and potentially life-threatening contagious drug reaction. Incidence of SJS is estimated between 1.1 and 7.1 cases per million per year and is more prevalent in women than men. Incidence in Europe is two per million per year.
He added that the incidence of the disease is higher in Africa because of the extensive use of herbal drugs and the prevalence of HIV.
Falodun further explained that the symptoms of the SJS disease include fever, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, general aches and pains, ulcers in mouth, genitals, anal regions as well as conjunctivitis.
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