Lassa fever: Health minister advises Edo residents to kill rodents

The Ministry of Health in Edo State on Friday advised residents to kill rodents to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

Mrs Helen Ehigie, the State Health Education Officer in the Ministry, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.

She said that Lassa fever is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta.

Ehigie described the disease as endemic, given the rodent population in different parts of West Africa.

The health education officer said that the ailment could cause bleeding in eight out of every 10 persons infected with the virus.

“If it affects the liver, kidneys, or spleen, it can be fatal.

“It is spread through the excreta and urine of the multi-mammate rat (Mastomys natalensis),” she said.

Ehigie said that Lassa fever was first discovered in Nigeria when two missionary nurses became ill with the virus in 1969.

The state health educator said that the Lassa fever symptoms include bleeding in the gums, nose and eyes, difficulty in breathing, cough and swollen airways.

She described the other symptoms of the ailment as vomiting and diarrhoea with blood, difficulty in swallowing, hepatitis, swollen face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen.

Ehigie advised warned residents on good hygiene.


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