Expert alerts healthcare workers on Arboviral diseases

Prof. Olatunji Kolawole of the Department of Microbiology, University of Ilorin (Unilorin), has alerted healthcare workers on early identification and diagnosis of arboviral infections, which has been largely neglected.

Kolawole raised the alarm at the 190th Inaugural Lecture of the Uniorin, entitled: “Transcending the Viral World: a Tale of Mimicry, Knockdown and Knockout”, on Thursday in Ilorin.

Arboviral disease is a general term used to describe infections caused by a group of viruses spread to people by the bite of infected arthropods (insects), such as mosquitoes and ticks.

The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Life Sciences of the university, observed that arboviral diseases have been neglected in Nigeria and in some other West African countries.

“Based on our findings in 2016, we accentuated the imminence of yellow fever outbreak in Ilorin, owing to the nonchalance of people towards receiving vaccination, low anti-Yellow Fever Virus (YFV) seropositivity, and the speculated circulation of the wild-type YFV.

“Health practitioners should therefore acquaint themselves with the typical clinical signs and symptoms of arbovirus infections in order to avoid missed diagnosis, prevent proliferation of possible diseases, and reduce associated case fatalities,” he said.

The virologist said that the prevention of arbovirus infection is dependent on eliminating the risks factors that promote the survival of vectors responsible for their transmission.

He therefore recommended that stagnant water, bushes and trees that can serve as their habitats are cleared in order to prevent the prevalence of the vectors.

“In areas where there is possibility of outbreak, residents should take cognisance of these viruses and be encouraged to clear standing water in and around their homes and offices where mosquitoes could breed.

“Clogged drainages should be cleared, as well as any other items like discarded tires that could store up water for the vector breeding,” he said.

Kolawole also advised that hospital laboratories should employ diagnostic tools that could be used in the detection of arboviral infections to limit the possibility of missed diagnosis. (NAN)