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Lassa Fever strikes again, 5 ways to prevent it

Lassa Fever strikes again, 5 ways to prevent it

Doris Ukaonu

Two persons have lost their lives to Lassa Fever in Abia and Edo states recently.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that certain preventive measures must be put in place to avoid a massive upsurge of the disease in the country especially with the approach of the month of December which is usually a peak season of the disease up until June.

In a recent report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 10 new cases were confirmed in the following states Ondo (5), Edo (2), Eboyin (1), Bauchi (1) and Abia (1).

Also, between January to November 10, 2019, the NCDC recorded that 764 persons were diagnosed with Lassa Fever, out of 4,500 suspected cases in 23 states.

The 23 states include; Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi, Cross River, Zamfara, Lagos and Abia.

About Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is a life-threatening viral disease caused by the Lassa Virus. It is spread through the urine and faeces of a multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis) commonly found in West Africa.

In a year, over 5,000 people lose their lives to the disease. The epidemic is common in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria.

Once a Mastomys rat is infected with the virus, it spreads it through its faeces and urine. As you know, rats are notorious home intruders who find their way through foodstuffs and other home equipment, and if you’re not careful, you could contract the disease.

 

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Lassa Virus

Lassa fever is also spread from an infected person to a non-infected person through blood, tissue, secretions and excretions. 

Some of the symptoms include haemorrhage, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, hepatitis, high or low blood pressure, and difficulty swallowing.

How to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Store food properly.  Grain and other foodstuffs should be stored in rodent-proof containers.
  • Avoid body fluids like the blood of infected persons.
  • If you are not a cat lover, you should rethink your options. 
  • Ensure dust bins are kept far from the home.

 

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