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Minister launches campaign to check Lassa fever, others

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Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar Mahmud, has launched a campaign against rats that live in people’s homes as part of efforts to fight against Lassa fever and other deadly diseases in the country.

Mahmud said that his ministry was keen on ensuring that Nigerian environment is kept clean and tidy for the healthful living of the people.

At the lunch of the National Environmental Response Campaign to Eradicate Lassa Fever at Rigasa community in Kaduna, the minister said that the ministry was worried by the increase in the prevalence of Lassa fever in Nigeria which continued to claim the lives of Nigerians.

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“When I addressed the press last month in Abuja on the outbreak of the fatal hemorrhagic fever ravaging across our country, I mentioned that the environmental component of Lassa fever control needed to be utilized. Very importantly, I promised the Nigerian people that my ministry was preparing some actionable interventions for the prevention of Lassa fever.

“Today marks the beginning of a robust plan focusing on primary prevention through sound environmental sanitation. This and other interventions are aimed at preventing, in addition to Lassa fever, an array of environmental sanitation-related diseases like cholera, malaria, typhoid and hepatitis.”

Mahmud, who said he had earlier served as a sanitation officer in America and knew the work, promised that the ministry would ensure that the Nigerian environment is kept clean being the most effective tool of preventing infectious and communicable diseases.

“The physical environment, being the most significant determinant of health undoubtedly plays an important role in
disease causation. The nature, type and location of our premises influence the survival of disease vectors in both the urban and rural communities in Nigeria.”

On how Lassa fever and other diseases spread, the minister explained: “Vecor-borne diseases, including Coronavirus Disease (COVID), Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Lassa fever, among other viral zoonotic and infectious diseases, depend on a vehicle to survive and be transmitted. For Lassa fever, the virus only develops when it enters its intermediate host – the multi mammate rat from which point it becomes infective to man.

“Other than the mammalian rat, various rat species are known to cause diseases to man by even some mechanical action of contaminating foods. Our communities unfortunately are fertile breeding grounds for rodents due to poor environmental sanitation which ensures sustained sources of food for rodents.”

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