A Blood Sample Is Being Collected From A Mastomys Rat

FG Implements Lassa Fever Prevention Methods

The Federal Ministry of Environment has recently launched the National Deratization framework exercise as part of its efforts to prevent and control the spread of Lassa fever in Nigeria.

Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako, said the development was necessary because the environment sector is to provide solutions, and make the environment safe and unconducive for the vector to grow because it is responsible for the disease.

Similarly, the registrar, Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), Dr. Yakubu Baba Muhammad, reiterated that the minister’s directives on all the facilities whether public or private should undergo derating exercise, after which they will be issued Derating Exemption Certificate by EHCON.

Dr. Yakubu disclosed that the ministry has directed the council to embark on massive capacity building to update the knowledge of the practitioners on the new innovations, and new approaches to control and address the disease.

He added that the component of health education, promotion and creation of awareness in the communities also plays an important role.

“At the community level, the issue of waste management cannot be over-emphasized. At this time and period, remnant food should not be exposed while our foodstuff and stores should be rat-proof. In the character of rats once there is no food, rats vacate the house,” he added.

He further emphasised that another approach to combat the spread of this disease is by getting to the grassroots, it’s a collective responsibility as the government is doing their job, and citizens should do their parts.

He also said farmers using roads for drying farm products should be discouraged from doing so because this gives rats to come and urinate, defecate; passing faeces that contain the virus that causes disease and contamination of the food.

Dr. Yakubu warned that communities should reduce or stop eating bush meat, stating that is not healthy because the virus has residual effects even after the death of the animal.