Nigerians have been advised against exposing their food items and cooking utensils to house hold pests, especially rodents. This is to avoid contracting Lassa fever, believed to be caused by the droppings of rats.

Dr. Doris John of the Public Health Department, Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory gave the advice at a sensitization seminar on Lassa Fever at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada. To prevent contracting the fever, she advised that any food part eaten by rats should be discarded, foods should be cooked thoroughly and all rats hideouts blocked. She said Lassa Fever affects all age groups with people in areas of poor sanitation and health workers managing such cases at greater risk.

According to Dr, John, the sickness starts with general weakness, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrheoa and in severe cases, may progress to swollen face, bleeding and low blood pressure. She advised that suspended cases should be reported to the nearest health care facility.

Dr. Doris John who also fielded questions from participants cutting across staff and members of the public, said no cure had been found for Lassa Fever adding that only two hospitals, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Lagos and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State had facilities for carrying out test on it.

Earlier, the Deputy Chairman, Infection Prevention and Control Committee, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Mrs (Pharm) Nkem Ugwuneji said the committee decided on the “Lassa fever alert” to keep the hospital community informed of its outbreak and prevention.

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