24th January, 2016
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Residents of Port Harcourt have been advised to stop drinking garri soaked in cold water for now, because rats that carry the highly contagious Lassa fever virus also like exposed dry garri.
Dr. Furo Green, the Chairman of Rivers State branch of Nigerian Medical Association, NBA, gave this medical advice, while speaking on the Lassa Fever scourge in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.
Dr Furo Green said the call became necessary as rats that cause Lassa fever are mostly in contact with garri. “Because you are not sure which garri has been infected by rats, its advisable to stay away. 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 well boiled hot water or pour the garri in a pot of boiling hot water and steer it.”
Dr. Green also advised members of the public to store food in closed containers to keep rats at bay. “When you buy foodstuffs like garri, you should pour it into a container that is covered to avoid the garri from being contaminated infected rats”.
He warned members of the public to keep personal hygiene of washing hands, keeping our environment clean of leftover food and other measures.
Since the outbreak of Lassa fever disease, three people have died in Rivers state, claiming the life of a medical doctor with the state-owned Braithwaite Memorial Specialised Hospital (BMHS), Livy Ijamala, on Wednesday January 13 night.
The medical doctor was said to have contracted the fever from a pregnant woman that conducted an emergency Cesarean Section unknown to him that she was infected.
The death of Ijamala brought to three, the number of persons who have died from the disease in the state, as a nursing mother and her two-week-old baby died earlier from the virus.