Deadly Disease ‘Stevens-Johnson Syndrome’ Hits Nigeria

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The Federal Government yesterday raised fresh concerns over the Stevens-Johnson syndrome and called for greater alertness to curb the ailment.

In a statement released by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Friday during a conference in Abuja, he said the alert had become necessary considering how a sibling of marathoner, Fedeshola Adedayo, had died of the ailment.

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He added that another person affected by the disease was responding to treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja, thus, warning the public to be more careful in the use of medications and seek urgent medical attention should they notice any sign of a rare disease.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes, which  is usually a reaction to a medication or an infection and often comes with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. Then the top layer of the affected skin dies and sheds.

It is said to be a medical emergency that usually requires hospitalization. Treatment focuses on eliminating the underlying cause, controlling symptoms and minimizing complications.

Adewole however, assured Nigerians there was no need to panic as 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.

“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.”

He also called stressed on the need for thorough scrutiny of drug leaflets before taking any  drugs to guide against adverse effects.

Advance Stage of the Disease

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Stevens-Johnson syndrome 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. The incidence of the disease is higher in Africa because of the extensive use of herbal drugs and the prevalence of HIV.

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.