What is Lassa Fever?
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. This class of sickness is caused by virus and at later stages, the patient exhibits both a high fever and hemorrhage/ wounds and bleeding through the mouth, ears and skin.
The primary host of the Lassa virus is the Natal-multimammate mouse. This rat differs from the common rat by having several nipples running alongside its body just like a female dog. This rat is found in large quantities allover sub saharan Africa and since you wouldn’t want to be checking all rats to see how many nipples they have, the key thing is that all rats are dangerous at this time.
The disease is in the faeces and the urine of the rat. Because the rat rolls in its urine, the body of the rat is also contaminated.
The good news about the disease is that Lassa fever is preventable and curable.
Six simple ways to prevent Lassa fever
Avoid contact with rats as much as possible.
Rats love damp environments. They thrive where rubbish, dirt and heaps exist. Clean out your home, office and anywhere you stay. Burn bushes around your home, clean the gutters.
Disposal of waste properly and cleaning the environment so that rats are not attracted.
Ensure the rats do not come back. Use proper waste bins that are covered. Do not allow left over food or dirty plates overnight. Wash your dirty plates, throw away used newspapers, do not allow them accumulate.
Observe good personal hygiene, including hand washing with soap and clean running water regularly
Get a hand sanitizer. Do not touch the rails in public places, wash hands as frequently as you can. If not, use a hand sanitizer.
Store foods in rat proof containers
Buy good, tough plastic containers or buckets to store your food. Remove foods that are in cartons and bags such as cereals, rice, garri, semovita, etc. store them in these containers. Ensure the containers have good tight fitting covers.
Where you have stubborn rats that eat plastic, use metal containers.
Throw away any food that has been eaten by rats or that you can see with rat droppings
This is not the period to be a miser – Throw it away!!! Don’t cut away that part that was eaten and keep the rest even if it is your favorite pack of corn flakes.
Better to throw away all the garri and buy new one than scoop it away.
Cook all foods thoroughly before eating.
The Lassa virus is killed by good and extensive heat; ensure you cook your foods well.
Avoid drinking garri at this point as you are not very sure of the source of the garri even if it has been at your house. If you must drink garri, fry it again and put immediately put in a container. It is okay to have the garri as Eba. The heat will kill the virus.
Avoid tasting garri at the market.
If you must eat salads and fresh vegetables and fruits, wash them thoroughly. Where possible, use vinegar to wash your fruits and vegetables and rinse off the vinegar before eating.