Stephen Johnson Syndrome, (SJS), a new dangerous disease has been detected in Nigeria according to Health Minister Isaac Adewole.
According to him, the disease has killed a Nigerian while another is currently undergoing treatment at the National Hospital Abuja.
“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 government to enlighten the society by trying to increase their awareness, knowledge and to improve their quality way of life,” he said.
Dr. Olanrewaju Falodun a Senior Consultant Physician/Dermatologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, described the disease.
“Stephens Johnson Syndrome, 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,” Mr. Falodun said.
SJS is a rare and unpredictable reaction, and is also a minor form of toxic epidermal necrolysis with less than 10 percent body surface area involvement, the consultant said.
“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,” he said.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, sore throat, running nose, fatigue, general aches and pains, ulcers in mouth, genitals, anal regions as well as conjunctivitis.
The health complications, Mr. Falodun said, are pigmentation problems, skin scarring, scarred genitals, joint pains, lung diseases, obstructive disorders and eye complications, adhesions, ulcers, and blindness.
He however said the cause of the disease remained unknown in a quarter to half of cases but that self-medications appeared to be one of its causes.
He urged the public not to misuse drugs and called on individuals with previous drug reactions to always inform healthcare practitioners so that they would be able to predict who is at risk of the disease using genetic screening.