Lassa fever: fumigators and pest control hawkers make brisk business

Hawkers of pest control substances and environment fumigators are making brisk business in Lagos as residents take precautionary measures against the spread of Lassa fever, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Lassa fever is an acute illness, transmitted through contaminated food by rodents’ urine and excreta.

NAN recalls that Lagos is one of the 18 states where the disease was reported to have ravaged in recent times.

In separate interviews, the pest control hawkers told NAN that they have recorded more sales since the outbreak of the disease in Lagos state.

Rasheed Bello, who produces and hawks rat poison at Oshodi market, said that radio announcements that rat is the carrier of the Lassa fever, has been a blessing to his business.

“There is serious rush for the rat poison and traps, as demands have doubled, compared to previous sales.

“I have no regret engaging in the business because I am recording large turnover in the rat killer business.

“Before, I used to sell the products within five days after production, but now, because of the fear people have for the Lassa fever, I sell my product in two days as more people come to buy,” he told NAN.

Mr. Bello said that he produces the rat poison in powdery and gum-sticky form and that his profit has more than doubled from N800 gain per day to N3,000.

Another hawker, Kunle Ajayi, expressed surprise at the sudden increase in sales, which he has recorded in the last two weeks.

He said that ordinarily, the rainy season is more favourable for his business than the dry season but that the outbreak of the Lassa fever has upturned this trend.

“Early this year, the sale was not encouraging; I could barely sell 15 pieces of rat killer in a day before, but now I make more turnover, selling as much as 40 pieces daily,” Mr. Ajayi said.

Olushola Akanni, who works with `Pestgo’, a pest control company, told NAN in a telephone interview that companies and residents have been calling for service to fumigate their places.

He said that charges for fumigation depend on the size of the home or office and the environment.

He said that fumigating a plot of land before was N15,000, but that, now that more people want to get rid of rodent in their environment, the cost is now N20,000 per plot.

He said because of the Lassa fever crises, the company had increased its fumigation and pest control charges.

Yomi Kolawole, who operates fumigating business at Army Barracks in Oshodi also said that the outbreak of the disease has boosted patronage of his business.

He noted that many people were yet to understand the danger of Lassa fever and the rat as its carrier agent.

Mr. Kolawole expressed hope that by the time more people become aware of the disease outbreak, they would demand for fumigation service.

“That will mean more businesses for us,” he said.

Mr. Kolawole now charges N15, 000 to fumigate an office. The price is up from N10, 000 previously charged, while fumigation of residential quarters cost N10, 000, up from N7, 000.

Adeola Adeoye, a hawker in Lagos Island also acknowledged a boom in the sales of rat poison following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state.

“I used to sell only one pack of rat poison before, but now, I sell over three packs. I guess it should be because of the Lassa fever which is killing people now,” she said.

She said that in January, sale was low, but that now that people are aware of the disease carrier, more people are coming for the killer poison.

“Most homes have started buying different kinds of rat killer in order to prevent their family from contacting the diseases,’’ she said.

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