Rats are major ‘carriers’ of Lassa fever – GHS


The Ghana Health Services (GHS) has cautioned Ghanaians to deist from consuming rats since the rodents contain germs that cause Lassa Fever.

GHS in a statement, cautioned all Divisional Directors, Regional Deputy Directors of the Service and public health care facilities of the likelihood of outbreaks of Lassa Fever in the country.

According to the statement, the disease has already affected several countries in West Africa with over 300 cases and 31 deaths in Nigeria. This has necessitated urgent spontaneous national response actions among all neighboring countries.

Speaking to Ekourba Gyasi on Atinka AM Drive, Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Badu Sarkodie said rats are special delicacies in Ghana hence the urgent need to sensitize the general public.

He added that the rats themselves are not suffering from the fever, he however explained that the germs live in the blood and urine of the rats which can be passed on to humans when consumed.

He hinted that two Lassa cases were reported in 2011 in Amansie West in the Ashanti Region and Kwa- Bibirem in the Eastern Region respectively by the Ghana Health Service where a lady lost her life as a result.

He asked Ghanaians to report to take precautionary measures by refraining from consuming rat meat and other related causative agents.

Lassa fever is an Acute Viral Haemorrhagic Fever illness which is endemic in the West Africa. The incubation period is 6-21 days. The onset of LF illness is often gradual, with non-specific signs and symptoms and commonly presents with fever, general weakness and malaise at the early onset.

After a few days, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain may follow. Severe cases may progress to show facial swelling, and bleeding tendencies (from mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract, and low blood pressure.

Shock, seizures, disorientation, and coma may be seen in the late stages. Complications include: deafness, transient hair loss and gait disturbance may occur during recovery.

About 80 % of Lassa Fever infections are mild or asymptomatic.

Ghana | Atinkaonline.com | Vivian Adu Boatemaa

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