Lassa caution: Eat “eba,” quit drinking garri

January 26, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ NEWS and Gossip


Against the backdrop of the spread of Lassa fever, which has claimed 63 people across the country in the last six months, Nigerians have been advised to top drinking garri.

Instead, they are advised to take the garri stirred in hot water – known as ‘eba’in South-West Nigeria.

Garri, a cassava product, is a staple ‘snack’ in Nigerian homes.

Speaking on the update of the disease in Rivers State, Furo Green, chairman of the state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said consumption of garri could expose one to the disease.

He explained that rats, which carry the highly contagious virus, are mostly in contact with garri.

“It is advisable to stay away from garri because you are not sure which garrihas been infected by rats.

“When you want to sip garri, you only pour cold water, add sugar and milk as the case may be.

“When you do that, you only succeed in gulping a life virus that can cause Lassa fever. The virus is empowered easily to attack you.

“Rather, garri should be consumed in the traditional way: prepare it in well boiled hot water or pour the garri in a pot of boiling hot water and steer it.

“When you buy foodstuff like garri, pour it into a container that is covered to avoid the garri being contaminated by infected rats,” he said.

Within a space of 11 weeks, the disease spread to over 17 of the country’s 36 states, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The viral infection, which started in remote villages in Bauchi, Niger and Kano States, has reportedly killed about 63 people so far.  There are also reports of 212 suspected cases in 62 local government areas.

Minister of Health, Prof Issac Adewole, listed the affected states as Zamfara, Kogi, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, Lagos, Edo, Oyo, Ondo, Rivers, Taraba, Kano, Bauchi, and Niger.

The disease is caused by the Lassa fever virus, and transmitted to humans from contact with food contaminated with the excreta or urine of infected rats.

In Lagos, the government has confirmed the death of three of the suspected 14 cases of the fever, while it monitors 438 people that have had contact with the confirmed cases.

A statement by Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris stated that while the ministry confirmed that those that died were infected with the fever, the ministry had listed 447 contacts of the confirmed cases and 438 of the cases were being monitored.

He also stated that the isolation wards in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospitals and 26 general hospitals have been reactivated.

Meanwhile, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Lagos State chapter, said it had destroyed more than 4,400 rats at six major markets in the state in its de-rat market programme.

Its President, Mr. Samuel Akingbehin said his association carried out the exercise at Onigongbo, Oshodi, Oke-Odo, Ikotun Isawo, Ojuwoye and Mile 12 markets.

Source: sunnewsonline