- The killer Lassa fever is back again in Nigeria
- So far, 84 cases have been reported in seven states with 16 people already confirmed dead
- As the government is making efforts to contain the outbreak, this piece highlights five things everyone should do to stay safe and alive
As Nigeria witnesses another outbreak of Lassa fever, 16 people have been killed, 47 patients are currently being treated while 21 have been successfully treated and discharged, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.
With the total 84 cases recorded thus far in seven states, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, Taraba, the Nigerian government is making efforts to contain the outbreak.
This piece explains what Lassa fever is, its cause, symptoms, and what every Nigerian can do to stay safe and alive as the government battles to get rid of the killer fever.
Causes of Lassa fever
Lassa fever mainly gets transmitted to humans through multimammate rats. It is passed through infected body fluid, contaminated food/household items and contaminated medical equipment.
After being infected with Lassa fever, the symptoms may take one to three weeks before emanating. Some of the symptoms include fever, cough, back pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, facial swelling, abdominal pain, constipation, and sore throat.
How you can protect yourself
- Keep your environment, whether home or office/workshop, clean
- Cover all foods and water properly
- Cook all foods thoroughly
- Block all rats hideouts in your home, office/workshop
- If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, report to your nearest health facility for prompt check-ups and appropriate treatment
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Meanwhile, Nigerians have been cautioned against consuming soaked gari. This call was made by Dr Boniface Okolo, the director of Public Health, Enugu state.
According to him, this must be done in order to avoid contacting Lassa fever.
The medical doctor gave the warning when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday, January 18.
He argued that rats are most times in contact with Garri and that the rodents are the cause of the disease.
Going further, he said the consumption of Garri must be discouraged. He pointed out that adding hot water would have killed the bacteria causing the disease.
However, many Nigerians who reacted to the doctor's assertion said that under no circumstances would they abandon garri.
In his reaction on social media, Wahab Rahmon Oladimeji said: "I can't stop laughing, if Garri gives Lassa fever, I should have died so many years back. I can remember when I was in primary school, I drank hell out of Garri. I used Garri a lot with kulikuli and groundnut."
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