As another week rolls to an end, we are faced with the news of a brand new case of Ebola in Sierra Leone even while we are still contending with the news of Lassa fever! And this was just after WHO had declared West Africa Ebola-free earlier in the week! By the way, for those in Lagos, a case of Lassa fever has also been confirmed here!
Transmission of Lassa Fever to humans is usually from contact with food or other household items that have been contaminated with faeces or urine of infected rat (Mastomys). Person to person transmission can also happen through direct contact with the bodily fluid (urine, blood, faeces etc) of an infected person.
Our big challenge in Nigeria may be related to our food production and distribution channels. Local food producers do not have automated means of drying produced foods like garri; so they dry them out in places where it may be easy for rats to have access.
Here are points to remember:
Avoid spreading food in places where rats have access to them eg grains, garri, yam chips for amala, plantain chips etc
The practice of eating tasting raw garri in the market and even drinking it (as quite a number of people like to do J) may not be a great idea now as you don’t know how this was processed.
If you believe your house may be infested by rats, please fumigate immediately. In the meantime, be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces especially in the kitchen. Indeed, starting the day by pouring a kettle of hot water all over the plates on your plates rack may be a great idea.
If you eat rats (and yes, some people do…especially the big ones which look almost human J), please give it a rest.
And do not forget your personal hygiene. Wash your hands and often too. If you cannot wash your hands at any given time, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Be sure to wash your hands as soon as you can afterwards. Remember that sanitizers are not suitable for visibly dirty hands.
As we did during the Ebola time, please maintain your private space. Do not sneeze or cough into people’s faces.
If you’re caring for anyone with the infection, observe the rules of barrier nursing.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Federal Ministry of Health can be contacted on 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005 to report any suspected case of Lassa Fever.
For more on this, please call https://chatwithdrketch.com/2016/01/09/daily-health-tips-lassa-fever/
Stay safe people, J