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    FUOYE warns public against lassa fever outbreak

    By Wole Balogun
    SA Media to VC

    The Directorate of Health Services, Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) has sent warning signals to the members of the University community and the public at large over the outbreak of lassa fever and its accompanying consequences.

    A statement made available to the University media team by the Director of FUOYE’s Directorate of Health Services, Dr. Olawale Musbau entitled: “LASSA FEVER OUTBREAK”, disclosed that members of the public are warned to be alert and take urgent precaution against the spread the deadly disease.

    The statement reads in part:
    “Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever, is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus.It is a viral infection carried by the MULTIMAMMATE rat Mastomys natalensis. It was first discovered in Nigeria in 1969. Viral disease

    “Currently there is an ongoing outbreak, which has led to the short down of some health facilities as this disease is very fatal and spreads easily.
    We advise that the entire university be alert and ensure to observe appropriate preventive measures.
    Lassa fever affects all age groups and genders.”

    Exposing how the disease is transmitted, Dr. Olawale said: “Once a Mastomys rat is infected with the virus, it can excrete the virus in its feces and urine potentially for the rest of its life. Transmission of Lassa virus to humans occurs most commonly through ingestion or inhalation.

    “Infected Mastomys rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings and direct contact with these materials, through touching soiled objects, eating contaminated food, or exposure to open cuts or sores, can lead to infection. Because Mastomys rodents often live in and around homes and scavenge on leftover human food items or poorly stored food, direct contact transmission is common.
    Mastomys rodents are sometimes consumed as a food source and infection may occur when rodents are caught and prepared.
    Contact with the virus may also occur when a person inhales tiny particles in the air contaminated with infected rodent excretions. This aerosol or airborne transmission may occur during cleaning activities, such as sweeping.

    “Direct contact with infected rodents is not the only way in which people are infected; person-to-person transmission may occur after exposure to virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of a Lassa virus-infected individual. Casual contact (including skin-to-skin contact without exchange of body fluids) does not spread Lassa virus.

    “Incubation Period
    It takes 6-21 days from exposure to manifestation of the symptoms of this disease. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms.”

    The Director also listed the symptoms of lassa fever to include, Fever, General body weakness, Headache, Sore throat, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Prolonged bleeding from nose and other orifices, Low blood pressure and Facial swelling.

    He stated that the prevention techniques include good environmental and personal hygiene; Frequent Hand washing; Store food in rodents proof containers; Cook food properly before eating; Avoid eating rats.
    Avoid contact of cooked and raw food
    Avoid contact with rodents and their litter.

    Dr. Olawale urged members of the University community to contact the directorate for more information.

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