The Minister for Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that the Lassa fever epidemic has so far spread to 16 states across the federation.
Mr. Chukwu said this on Friday in Umuahia when he accompanied the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, to the launch of Pro-Vitamin A cassava varieties at the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike.
He however did not mention the states concerned.
Speaking with newsmen, he said that the scourge was not strange in Nigeria, pointing out that “Edo State has long been experiencing it.’’
According to him, ”what we are witnessing now is the outbreak of the epidemic in some other parts of the country.’’
He explained that the disease ‘’goes with hot weather’’ and unhygienic environment, leading to the breeding of rodents.
Mr. Chukwu said that the rodents, the vectors of the disease, contracted the disease from decomposed grains often deposited within the environment.
He said the ministry was currently sensitising Nigerians to “environmental control and personal hygiene’’ as part of the measures to check the disease.
The minister explained that the Federal Government had initiated a number of measures, including the establishment of three laboratories across the country, to arrest the situation.
He advised Nigerians against bush burning, saying the practice helped to drive out rodents from their natural habitat in the bush to residential homes in the cities.