The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has warned Nigerians that the outbreak Lassa Fever should be taken seriously and with the same preventive measures used during the outbreak of Ebola Virus Diseases, EVD, given similarity of the two viruses.
Already, Lassa Fever has killed over 40 people in Taraba, Rivers, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Plateau, Gombe, Rivers, Edo and Oyo states.
Enlightening the public in a series of tweets on Saturday, NEMA described the fever as an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and first described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno State.
“Lassa fever is a member of the Arenaviridae virus family. Similar to Ebola,” it said.
“The virus is endemic in rodents in west Africa. Symptoms and Signs may be similar to malaria symptoms, may also include sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.”
To protect themselves against the virus, the agency urged Nigerians to keep their environment rat-free. “Step up your hygiene especially as regards food kept in stores. Wash canned foods and drinks etc. Go to the hospital if you have treated malaria and experience no improvement in your condition.
“NEMA urges the public to rekindle hand washing/sanitization culture introduced during Ebola outbreak. If you suspect any case of Lassa Fever, call Federal Ministry of Health on 08163215251, 08031571667, 08135050005.”