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Lassa Fever: Environmentalist warns residents against bush burning

Prof. Isaac Adewole, Health Minister
By George Edomwonyi
Mr Abdulsalam Braimah, the Head, Environment Department, Etsako West Local Government Area, on Friday advised residents of the area against bush burning, to checkmate the spread of Lassa Fever.

Braimah gave the advice during a sensitisation and awareness campaign held at Auchi, Edo, on the effects of bush-burning and the indiscriminate use of chemicals in clearing grasses

He urged the people to avoid bush burning, in order to reduce the number of rodents that found their way into people’s homes.

According to him, the spread of Lassa Fever is caused by infected rats.

“The increase in Lassa fever cases in the country is due to bush-burning which drives rats into homes.

“Whenever we burn bushes around us, rats eventually run into our houses. They contaminate our food and other materials with their urine, secretions and excretions and this leads to the spread of Lassa Fever.”

Braimah said that the sensitisation and awareness campaign became imperative due to the rising cases of Lassa Fever in most parts of the country.

“Lassa Fever is an acute viral infection which is transmitted from the faeces and urine of rats when in contact with food and the food is eaten.

“This disease is associated with bleeding and can affect any age group.”

He urged residents to maintain a hygienic environment, stressing the need to cover all food, to prevent rodents contamination.

He said that the council had constituted surveillance teams to monitor and check the outbreak of the disease in the locality.

“Residents are required to be vigilant, maintain the highest hygiene standard possible, avoid contact with those infected and report illnesses and deaths emanating from the disease to hospitals and government health centres,” Braimah said.

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