As the nation whimpers from the assault and death toll of Lassa fever, the Pest Control Association of Nigeria, PECAN, has declared that an integrated pest management approach is the only sustainable system of controlling the deadly disease.
Speaking to journalists last week, Ayo Ogunyadeka, president, PECAN, says a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods can be used to keep rodents at bay. Non-chemical methods, according to him, include cultural, biological and mechanical methods of pest control while chemical method involves the use of pesticides or rodenticides. “Rodenticides are agents that are lethal to rodents. They can be characterised as either slow acting, which is chromic in nature, or fast acting, which is acute in character. Slow acting rodenticides are anti-coagulant that induces internal bleeding. Fast acting rodenticides are mixed at high concentrations into food baits,” said the expert.
Rodents such as rats and mice are said to carry the Lassa virus in their droppings, urine, saliva and food contaminated with them. An individual who comes in contact with these contaminated substances can get ill and die within 10 days. From the estimation of the World Health Organization, WHO, Lassa fever kills about 3,000 Nigerians every year.
Meanwhile Kunle Williams, vice president, PECAN, has warned Nigerians to exercise caution when drinking canned drinks. He advised that the containers be washed before they are opened to avoid ingestion of possible Lassa fever contamination. “Canned drinks are stored in different places, even in the country of manufacture. Now, they come into the country and are still stored in different places before they are eventually bought and consumed. So, it is better and safer to clean them of any Lassa fever droppings, urine or saliva,” he said.