Lassa fever: Edo warns residents to take preventive measures




BENIN – The Edo State Government has warned residents of the state to adhere strictly to measures that will prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever, a deadly decease caused by rats.

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The Director of Disease Control, Ministry of Health,  Dr Osamwonyi Irowa, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Sunday .

Irowa advised the people to avoid getting into contact with rats, endeavour to keep food items in covered containers, keep their environment clean and avoid bush burning.

The director reminded the people that Edo is one of the states that have cases of Lassa fever.

“Edo Central and some parts of Edo North Senatorial Districts are endemic to the disease,’’ he said.

“One case of Lassa fever in any territory is an outbreak, we have had two cases in the state this year and every effort is being made to reduce the incident of the disease.’’

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He called on the people to go for early treatment once they felt the disease had been contracted, noting that it is fatal.

“Anybody who has symptoms such as fever, sore throat, diarrhea and pink eye, among others, should get screened immediately, for confirmation and treatment.’’

According to him, treatment is free for those exposed to the virus in the state and other parts of the country.

He described as false, the belief in some quarters that indigenes of the endemic areas in the state were not affected by the disease.

“Lassa fever is not a spiritual thing; indigenes also die when they come in contact with the disease.

“It is just that in most times, they don’t access treatment and when they die, they say the cause of the death is spiritual,” Irowa warned.

He, however, said that some people had immunity and may not come down with the disease,  adding that researches were on to provide a vaccine for it. (NAN)

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