The Commissioner for Health, Rivers State, Dr. Sampson Parker, says lassa fever from rat poison kills faster than HIV/AIDS. Dr. Parker disclosed this at a media briefing in his office in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
“It is more astonishing that as doctors and scientist have found solution to HIV/AIDS, the outbreak of lassa fever which kills faster than Aids has become more worrisome, as the disease is contacted from rats,” said Dr. Parker.
Dr. Parker said the revelation became necessary as the disease is capable of killing without giving any prior information.
The Commissioner for Health said, the danger posed by the rat poison is so enormous hence the need to create a massive awareness in the state to avoid the spread of the epidemic.
Giving the statistics of the infection so far, the commissioner said, the disease has killed one nurse and infected six others in Rivers State.
The Health commissioner told journalists that at first when the news of the infection came to medical practitioners in the state, most of them deserted the hospital due to fear of getting contacted, as most doctors did not know how to handle the ailment. Right now, he said medical doctors in Rivers State have undergone medical training to tackle the killer disease.
He further explained that the purpose of the press briefing was to spread the information across the state on how to tackle the disease.
On the issue of calling an enlarged stakeholders forum to further sensitize them on the matter, Dr. Parker said all machinery is in motion as Health officers and supervisory councilors on health in all the local government areas will be briefed on how they will inform their communities.
Dr. Parker urged the people of Rivers state and others who live here to cultivate the habit of cleanliness, hygienic condition and avoid contaminated and unprotected food in the house.
He advised those who have feverish feeling to contact any of the 110 primary Health care centres in the 23 LGAs as necessary equipment and drugs have been provided.
Answering questions on the possible symptoms of lassa fever, Dr. Parker said it is not specific and varied as symptoms occur between one to three weeks after the contact with the virus.
He listed the symptoms to include, fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, cough, sore throat, back pain, diarrhea, restrosternal pain, facial swelling, bleeding and mucosa and warned that those who are infected should contact a doctor rather than self medication.
Dr. Parker explained further that, in all the health centres adequate preparation have been done to take care of surgical mask, sterilizing kits, drugs and protective gowns to protect medical doctors too. ###