The National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) has urged residents in Nasarawa state to avoid rats in order to prevent Lassa fever.

Alhaji Kamal'ddin Akintunde, the National President of NACOMYO, made the call on Sunday at a one-day awareness campaign on Lassa fever organised by the Nasarawa state chapter of the organisation in Karu.

``First and foremost, I want to commend the state chapter of NACOMYO in organising this awareness campaign in Kube, Beti, Kare and Kugwaru, among other communities of Karu.

``The awareness was aimed at complementing government efforts in bettering the health needs of the people of the state and Nigerians at large.

``We heard reported cases of death and we even have seen how some people contacted and died of Lassa fever not only in Nasarawa state but also in some parts of the country.

``That is why I said that the Lassa fever awareness campaign in rural communities is timely.

``That Lassa fever can be transmitted to human through contamination of broken skin via direct or indirect contact with infected rat excreta or urine on floors, home surfaces, in food or water.

``And transmission is also possible where rats are caught and consumed as food.

``It is in view of that I want to appeal to the people of Nasarawa state and other Nigerians to stay away from rats, stop eating or avoid direct contact with rats.

``Keep food in rat proof containers in the interest of our health and the health of our nation.

``Nigerians should improve on their environment sanitation and personal hygiene so as to avoid spreading of diseases,’’ he said.

Akintunde also used the occasion to call on wealthy individuals and organisations to assist the government through initiating people oriented programmes, adding that government alone cannot do everything for its citizens.

Earlier, the Nasarawa state Coordinator of NACOMYO, Mr Salisu Musa-Akaki, said the organisation deemed it necessary to scale up its awareness campaign to educate rural dwellers on Lassa fever, its transmission, prevention and treatment.

He advised the residents to promptly report to the nearest hospital any suspected case of Lassa fever for timely professional care in their interest and the interest of the health of the country.

Responding, the Uehra-Sheh of Kube Chiefdom in Nasarawa state, Mr Christopher Jatau, commended the organisation for organising the programme.

The traditional ruler noted that the aimed of the programme was to enlighten residents on the prevalence of diseases in the state and called for its sustenance.

The Uehra-Sheh urged village heads and other community leaders to pass the message to their subjects.