Medical practitioners seek public awareness on Lassa fever epidemic


Two medical practitioners have called for commencement of early sensitisation of citizens against Lassa fever.

The practitioners made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

They also called for preparedness to manage the disease to make sure its impact was limited.

Dr Bamidele Mutiu, a Consultant Microbiologist, said that the fever was endemic in Nigeria, stating that as long as people continue to get in contact with animals, the diseases will keep recurring.

Mutiu is also the Executive Director, Lagos State BioBank, a biological containment laboratory, which secures storage facility with the capacity to process and rapidly identify infectious diseases with epidemic potential such as Lassa fever.

“We need to start mass sensitisation earlier and after the rainy season, educate farmers not to dry their food out.

“People need to know that food items should be properly covered so that the rats that cause the disease do not contaminate the items.

“Also, we must educate people to maintain high personal and environmental hygiene and stop putting dirt around our environment as this attracts the rats.

“People who suspect to have fever for long periods should visit the hospital for further investigations.

“Once we can do all these, we may be able to control the impact of the epidemic,’’ he said.

The consultant said that Lassa fever could be controlled if measures were put in place to curb its spread.

While noting that some state governments are prepared against such disease, he however urged people to also maintain good hygiene.

“The biobank is better equipped in the state to mitigate outbreaks of infectious diseases and strengthen capacity to quickly detect and prevent such diseases,’’ Mutiu said.

The Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Chapter, Dr Saliu Oseni, also called on healthcare providers to be cautious when attending to patients suspected to have fever.

Oseni said: “These providers must maintain a high level of caution and adopt the universal precautions when handling diseases that are infectious and tending toward outbreaks.

“The lives of healthcare workers are also precious; they need to also take care of themselves while attending to patients.’’


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