Ondo State government has said 106 cases of lassa fever and eight deaths have been recorded in the state this year.
Prof. Francis Faduyile, Special Adviser to the governor on Health, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Akure.
Faduyile said the confirmed cases were in six local governments of Owo, Akure North, Akure South, Ose, Akoko South-West and Idanre.
According to him, Owo has the highest cases of 68, Akure North (13), Akure South (11), Ose(9), Akoko South-West(5) and Idanre (1).
“Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 23, we have had 268 suspected cases of Lassa Fever, 106 confirmed cases and unfortunately eight deaths,” Faduyile said.
He explained that the prevalent period of the disease was during the dry season and part of the rainy season when farmers were cultivating lands for farming.
“The farmers during this period will do a lot of bush burning and when they burn the bush, the rats will move from their natural habitat to a place safer and a lot of them tends to come towards homes in that surrounding.
“The first way to prevent Lassa is to stop bush burning, and we have sensitised against this,” he said.
Faduyile advised people not to put their foods where rats can have access.
“We have observed that some of our cultural activities like spreading cassava on the road to dry are harmful because rats can come around eat out of the cassava and drop faeces or urine on it.
“Besides, we have observed that our level of hygiene, if it is not well improved, can attract rats, because rats are scavengers and when there is uneaten food, that is not covered, they tend to come,” he said.
Faduyile noted that the government has embarked on advocacy through the local governments and traditional rulers as well as other preventive means to stem the disease.
“Every year there is ‘deratification’, that is to kill all the rats, and we have started it this year which has been largely successful.
“Also, there has been a lot of advocacy to medical personnel for them to have a high index of suspicion for any fever,” he said.
Faduyile said the government has improved the state Infectious Disease Hospital, Akure, to a standard that can take care of Lassa fever. (NAN)
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