The Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of Nigeria has urged parents and school managements to encourage the culture of hygiene as precautionery measure against Lassa fever in the country.

Mr Sylvester Yakubu, the Chairman of PTA, Plateau chapter, made the call on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos.

Yakubu said medical personnel had raised an alarm on poor hygiene as major source of transmitting the disease to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta.

He added that rats, the carriers of the Lassa virus, feed on leftover foods that were not properly covered.

“A special specie of rats called Mastomys are the carriers of the deadly Lassa virus, which has resurfaced in Nigeria and the Plateau.

“Parents should inculcate the culture of good hygiene in their homes and encourage children to practice same.

“The management of schools, especially boarding houses, should ensure that food items are properly stored to prevent infestation and excreta of rodents, especially rats.

“Rat holes in homes and schools should be properly blocked to prevent rats’ habitation,” he said.

The PTA boss stressed the need for concerted efforts by health personnel, parents and children, saying that awareness should also be created on preventive measures.

The Plateau Ministry of Health on Monday said it recorded five cases of Lassa fever from December 2016 till date, with four deaths and one survivor.