‘Lassa fever still common because rural dwellers believe rats are nutritional’
In an effort to prevent further outbreak of Lassa fever, Ebonyi Government is to begin intensive campaigns against rat consumption in rural areas where inhabitants erroneously believe rats have high nutritional value.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Donatus Njoku, told the News Agency of Nigeriaon Monday in Abakaliki that the government would explore all avenues to dissuade the citizens from consuming rats.
NAN reports that Lassa fever outbreak in the state in January resulted in four deaths.
Njoku said: “Rats are the primary vectors of the disease, and we are vigorously carrying out enlightenment through mass media, workshops, seminars and various ministries’ communication channels.
“We will collaborate with traditional rulers and other opinion leaders at the grassroots to educate rural dwellers to shun such a notion and realise that rat is the disease’s primary vector.
“We have also continued to sensitise the populace to urgently report suspected cases to relevant health agencies.
“With the total functionality of the state government-owned South-East Virology Centre, such an occurrence can be expeditiously handled.’’