Leave Those Rats, Face Yourself

Alas! the rats have come to town

Everyone is talking about Lassa fever and for so long I resisted talking about it. I have read lots of articles and some have really broken my heart and forced tears out of tear glands.

A good example of such jargons is one that I read saying people should stop drinking garri( cassava flour) but eat Eba (moulded garri with the aid of boiling water). I was left  dumbfounded.

However, I have decided not to tread the path that my fellow writers have trod but to make a detour.

YES, You read right..Leave the rat, face yourself

What exactly is Lassa Fever?

An acute and often fatal viral disease, with fever. Lassa fever is a one of the  several Viral Hemorrhagic Fever with another member being Ebola virus. Is caused by a virus.

The beautiful thing about a virus is that they cannot be killed but can be inactivated at certain temperatures. This is so because they are proteins. Hemorrhagic fevers can be caused by one of the many families of viruses.

The carrier of this virus is known to be certain animal known as the rat. The virus belongs to the class arenavirus. Arenaviruses persist in nature by infecting rodents first and then transmitted into humans. Humans can be infected through mucosal exposure to aerosols, or by direct contact of abraded skin with the infectious material, derived from infected rodents of chief among them in this context is of the  genus Mastomys commonly known as the “multimammate rat”. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary,  multimammate rat  is any of several common African rodents of the genus Mastomys that have 12 rather than the usual five or six mammae on each side, are vectors of disease (as Lassa fever), and are used in medical research.

My aim is to educate us about hygiene rather than scare us about Lassa fever.

We need to pay special attention to our hygiene as a people. We must not wait till there is an endemic before we start taking precautions. Let us leave the poor rats who didn’t choose to be carriers of this virus. Let us focus on how we keep our foodstuffs and other things. The fuse and news about avoiding garri is myopic giving that it is premised on the basis that rats or rodents feed on cassava. I am happy to let you know that they do not only feed on cassava but on tubers as long as they can burrow into the soil.

The class of rats you see running around your house is known as the Roof rats. Roof rats, sometimes called black rats, are superb climbers that tend to nest above ground. In the wild, roof rats inhabit shrubs, trees and dense vegetation. In domestic environments, they seek out secure, elevated places such as attics, walls, sheet rock ceilings and cabinets. They may enter homes through trees close to windows or eaves.

What then should you KNOW?

  1. Do not panic about lassa fever.
  2. Avoiding garri by drinking won’t prevent you from getting infected. The truth is they can infest anything including but not limited to rice.

3.Heat doesn’t destroy the virus.Infact, heat doesn’t destroy ANY VIRUS.

  1. Lassa fever is not the only Viral Hemorrhagic Fever hence do not put attention only to Lassa fever.
  2. Viral hemorrhagic fevers(VHF) are a group of illnesses caused by four families of viruses. These include the Ebola and Marburg, Lassa fever, and yellow fever viruses. VHF have common features: they affect many organs, they damage the blood vessels, and they affect the body’s ability to regulate itself. 
  3. Every virus completes its cycle. There is a cycle that every virus grows with although the lifespan may be different.
  4. The faeces and urine are the major mode of transmission
  5. It is seasonal.
  6. Like other hemorrhagic fevers, Lassa fever can be transmitted directly from one human to another. It can be contracted by an airborne route or with direct contact with infected human blood, urine, or semen. Transmission through breast milk has also been observed

What You Should Do

  1. Ensure you have all leakages illegal entry points blocked. This means that should you have any opening in your house, be sure to have them blocked.
  2. Keep all gutters and drainages clean.
  3. Keep all foodstuffs off the floor
  4. Keep all foodstuffs tightly sealed with lids
  5. Should you have a cupboard, be you have them properly done and that the doors are well done as well
  7. For now, avoid consumption of rats until the endemic subsides
  8. Practice points 1-7 and your health is insured.

Let me  restate here that

Finally, be sure to contact your hospital and not a pharmacy should you notice you are feeling funny especially during the outbreak.

Toluse Francis

Toluse Francis believes a healthy lifestyle is paramount for everyone. He is a long -time volunteer with Solid Foundation Teens and Youth Ministry. He loves to care for people. Toluse Francis is a Health Coach and author He is interested in seeing people eat healthy and get productive. He believes a healthy lifestyle is paramount for everyone.

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Ifeanyi - January 27, 2016

Well said Tolu

Olafusi Kolawole - January 27, 2016

Wow, what a great article you have there. You killed the topic. I think this should be sent to our media houses for further awareness.

I don’t seem to agree with this point

3.Heat doesn’t destroy the virus. Infact, heat doesn’t destroy ANY VIRUS whereas you earlier said The beautiful thing about a virus is that they cannot be killed but can be inactivated at certain temperatures.

I think they are better inactivated using whatever means that worked rather than leave them to wreck havoc on us which the point about soaking garri flakes with cold water discourages.
We killed mosquitoes with whatever means possible but they are not all dangerous! I think we should declare total war on any rats or rodents in and around our houses now.

Thank you again for this great piece. I have been better informed.

    Toluse Francis - January 27, 2016

    Thank you Olafusi for sparing sometime to read. You can help share with people until it gets to the media house.
    In response to point 3, I agree that they are better inactivated but my point actually is that let that not be our focus that we maintain good hygiene.
    Then the word ‘inactivation ‘presupposes that it is temporary and not permanent which means once temperature changes, they are back. All viruses are proteins and proteins can be denatured. Some use the words interchangeably but denaturing of proteins is a different thing entirely.
    Once again, Thanks

Taiwo Adedeji - January 30, 2016

Well written Toluse! I have been re-oriented particularly about the point that boiling doesn’t kill viruses as they don’t die but inactivated.

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