As part of efforts to check the spread of Lassa Fever by ensuring a clean environment, the Lagos State Government has banned street trading and hawking in every area of the state. Giving the instruction, Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Adejare, said the move became necessary following the outbreak of the disease in the state. He accused the street traders and hawkers of degrading the state’s environment and engaging in robbery, causing traffic gridlock, child abuse and vandalism of infrastructure in the state. Adejare said the government had tasked Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) and the Task Force to clamp down on all violators of its environmental laws.
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“To halt the spread of Lassa fever, Lagosians must maintain personal hygiene, proper sanitation in their environment, especially, clean-up of the vegetation in their premises, and proper bagging and disposal of waste to keep off the wild vector rats spreading the virus,” Adejare said.
He advised residents experiencing headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain should seek medical help immediately.
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Lassa fever is an acute febrile illness, with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by its virus, which has an incubation period of six to two days. About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic; the remaining cases have severe multi-system disease, where the virus affects several organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys. The onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and bleeding from mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract, and low blood pressure. The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multimammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas.