The Ministry of Health Edo State on Friday advised citizens to kill rodents to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.
The State Health Education Officer in the Ministry, Mrs Helen Ehigie gave the advice in an interview in Benin City.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. Many of those infected, do not develop symptoms.
She said that Lassa fever is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or other household items contaminated with rodent excreta and body fluids.
Ehigie described the disease as endemic, given the rodent population in different regions of West Africa.
The health education officer said that the disease could cause bleeding in eight out of every 10 persons infected with the virus.
“If it affects the liver, kidneys, or spleen, it can be fatal.
“It is spread through the excreta and urine of the multi-mammate rat (Mastomys natalensis),” she said.
Ehigie further added that Lassa fever was first discovered in Nigeria when two missionary nurses became ill with the virus in 1969.
The state health educator said that the Lassa fever symptoms include bleeding in the nose, eyes and gums, difficulty in breathing, cough and swollen airways.
She described the other symptoms of the ailment as vomiting and diarrhoea with blood, difficulty in swallowing, hepatitis, swollen face, and pain in the chest, back and abdomen.
Ehigie cautioned residents on good hygiene.