Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Rivers Govt Embarks on ‘Operation Kill All Rats’ to Curb Lassa Fever

Rivers State Government on Tuesday flagged off “Operation Kill All Rats’ campaign to educate, curb and prevent the spread of lassa fever in the state.
This was made known by the State Commissioner for Environment, Roseline Konya, during a press briefing in her office in Port Harcourt.

Konya said that apart from lassa fever, rats,which are the carriers of the virus were also vectors for other diseases such as urine typhoid, Eboni Plague Fever and others, hence, the need for the killing of all rats from our environments.
Konya said that caretaker committee chairmen of the 23 local government councils have been directed to enforce the ‘Operation Kill All Rats’ campaign in their respective areas.

According to her, the council chairmen have been charged to ensure that all communities are kept clean, while refuse dumpsite are cleared and fumigated to ensure that there are no more breeding grounds for rats and other vectors.She also urged residents of the state to keep their surrounding clean, by clearing all bushes around their homes, while all holes and crevics in individual houses should be properly covered to ensure no hiding place for rats.
The commissioner, who warned against further consumption of rats, also said that people must no longer use bare-hands to remove dead rats, while food must be properly covered by households across the state.
Konya said that the ministry would ensure regular fumigation of the environment, while refuse contractors will be made to ensure prompt and immediate evacuation and disposal of refuse in the state.
She also said that environmental health officers will be dispatched to markets every Thursday to ensure proper disposal of refuse and called for regular hand washing and use of sanitizers by the people.

As part of measures to check the menace of Lassa Fever in the state, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Austin Tam- George, said sensitization campaign were now targeted  on restaurants and markets.
Speaking with newsmen in Government House, Port Harcourt, Tam-George regretted the death of medical doctor last week from the disease but assured that government was not resting on its oars to  put the virus in check.

His ministry, he said, was working in collaboration with other related ministries to raise awareness of residents on the virus, “ We have gone out to tell people exactly what they should do. They should avoid the presence of rats in their neighborhoods, cover the food they eat. Anywhere they suspect that the food may have been tampered by rats they should avoid such food completely. They should make sure they cook their food very well. If there are fruits or foods half eaten by rat, they should throw them away,” he said.

Early this month, Lassa Fever claimed the lives of a mother and her two weeks old baby in Tai Local Government Area.
The death of a medical doctor last week at the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital (BMH) in Port Harcourt swelled the death toll from the deadly virus to three.

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