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Bayelsa health commissioner urges clean environment to combat Lassa fever


The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, has urged residents to maintain clean environment to prevent Lassa fever.The commissioner, who was represented by an official in his ministry, Dr. Yorin Stow, disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing.

The inter-ministerial/agency press briefing was part of the activities to sensitise the people to the scourge.He said nobody is immune to the disease, adding that rats and rodents that habours the disease are prevalent in dirty environment. He explained that family members who are taking care of an infected person, as well as health workers are more predisposed to contracting the disease.He disclosed that the incubation period for victims to manifest symptoms of the disease was between six to 21 days.

He said: “We all know that Lassa fever is a very dangerous disease that affects human and it’s caused by a virus, which is found in a particular specie of rats, called the multi man-made rat.”


“These are rats that have a lot of breasts. It would also interest you to know that Lassa fever outbreaks happen all through the year, but mostly in the dry season. “People could get infected when they eat food or drink water contaminated urine, faeces, saliva or blood of rats.He added that people could also be infected when they touch they touch their claws, or materials contaminated with these items.

The commissioner further explained that people could also get infected if they inhale air that is contaminated with tiny particles, faeces, urine or saliva of blood of these species of rats.Of course, there is also the popular side, which is the transmission from person-to- person, as well as eating of rats.He revealed that the symptoms of the disease are high fever, sore throat, back pain, chest pain, diarrhea, restlessness, cough, vomiting and swelling of the face.

He advised that when victims began to notice symptoms such as bleeding from body openings (nose, mouth, ears, eyes, anus), it means that the disease had reached the terminal stage, which is the final stage.He said at that final stage, it would be difficult to revive the patient.

On treatment for the disease, Etebu, who said there was no vaccine yet against it, stressed that the disease could be treated if it was detected and treatment given early.He dismissed insinuation that the disease was spiritual, adding: “It is a biggest lie from the pit of hell to say that Lassa fever is spiritual.

“We must avoid contact with anything that has to do with rat, dead or alive. We must avoid removing dead rats with our bare hands and keep our surroundings clean at all times. “Also, we must block all holes around our houses that could give entry to rats, clear all the bushes around our houses and dispose all refuse into covered dustbin.”

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