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A deadly virus tests Nigeria's health service
March 20, 2018 | 1:58 PM
by Times TV
 
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Nigeria: An outbreak of the deadly Lassa fever is spreading across Nigeria and it's killed at least 110 people so far this year. Symptoms include fever and headaches, and it often proves fatal.

Lassa is mainly transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or excrement. But it can also be passed between people through the bodily fluids of those infected.

In southern Edo state local authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are trying to prevent the virus from spreading by raising awareness with locals.

Grace Ireotoi, WHO officer said, "We find out that if we are able to take these messages to the grassroots, we will be able to interrupt this outbreak. So every community leader is here now, every town announcer is here. We expect every town announcer to go back to each settlement, each community, to take this message."



Cooking food thoroughly can help prevent infection, keeping cats helps control the infected rodents. But, while health care workers are being trained in control measures, they're overstretched.

According to the WHO, a number of medics in Nigeria have become infected, and some have died. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Nurse, Patience Osobase said, "Even the health workers, need more training. Mostly for the domestic staff that dispose of the waste. They need training so that they know what they are dealing with. So they don't go and infect their own communities and families."

Over 350 confirmed cases of Lassa fever have been identified in Nigeria. The disease has also been seen in many other West African countries including Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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