Oyo State government has warned bushmeat lovers to be cautious by ensuring such meat is well cooked before consumption.
This is as government enjoined residents of the state, especially food producers, to be wary of drying food items by the roadside which exposes such items to rodents infestation.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello, who sounded these warnings during a press conference held at State Secretariat, Ibadan, on Thursday, further enjoined residents to properly keep their food items in their homes and prevent rats and other rodents from feasting on them.
Though he pointed out that there was no outbreak of Lassa fever in the state, Bello said the state had set health facilities and medical personnel on the alert to be able to carry out a quick diagnostic evaluation of Lassa.
In furtherance of being on the alert, Bello said the state had an isolation department at the state general hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, with facilities to combat any incidence of Lassa fever.
Bello, however, pointed out that Lassa hemorrhagic fever was not a death sentence if detected early.
Symptoms include; fever, general weakness, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, abdominal pain.
“There is no confirmed case of Lassa fever in Oyo State but we are concerned about preventive rather than curative, particularly our people taking precautions as relates to the vector, which is rodents.
“They should take care of food items and ensure they don’t allow rodents within the house and that all food items are well covered to prevent excretory matter on their food items.
“Those indulged in killing rodents, bushmeat should be very cautious to make sure all meat is well cooked to prevent the risk of getting an infection from the most unimaginable sources.
“Also our mothers on the farms that spread local food items on the road to dry up, the rodents walk in there, excrete, defecate and unknown to them, they pack and bring them to the major cities for consumption.
“We want to ensure preventive measures are on to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever in Oyo State.
“We have set all our health facilities, both private and public, to be in alert to be able to give quick diagnostic evaluation and send then to appropriate isolation department of Ring Road hospital,” Bello said.
While State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Wasiu Olatunbosun, prayed the media to help sensitise residents against Lassa fever, Oyo NMA chairman, Dr Akin Sodipo, pledged availability of doctors to support the government in the combating any outbreak.
Sodipo further urged medical practitioners and caregivers to imbibe the culture of using hand gloves before attending to their patients.