Lassa Fever Scientist calls for improved hygiene to check disease

He said improved hygiene would lessen the risk of contracting the disease and check the outbreak of other ailments.

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Mr Olufemi Aluko of Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has called for improved hygiene among Nigerians to check the spread of Lassa fever.

Aluko made the call in an interview by telephone on Saturday with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said improved hygiene would lessen the risk of contracting the disease and check the outbreak of other ailments.

"Improvement of our environmental health will reduce the amount of money spent on managing outbreaks of preventable diseases which are mostly caused by poor sanitation,’’ he said.

According to Aluko, government needs to intensify efforts to ensure that tangible emphasis is placed on the environmental component of disease-control programme.

"This is because strategies to control diseases such as Lassa fever ought to be all-embracing, involving such issues as housing, health, food safety, general hygiene, water sanitation and waste management.

"A filthy environment stimulates the proliferation of rodents; the vectors of diseases, government needs to intensify efforts to tackle the menace of Lassa fever.

"Such efforts must involve community and household sanitation strategies.

"Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and clinical cases of the disease have existed long time ago,’’ he said.

According to the lecturer, the primary animal host of the virus a type of rat that is indigenous to most of African countries.

"The virus is believed to be transmitted via human contact with faeces or urine of the rats,’’ he said.

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