‘To avoid possible Lassa fever infection, avoid drinking garri’ – Expert

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The Director of Public Health, Enugu State, Dr Boniface Okolo, has cautioned Nigerians against the consumption of soaked garri to avoid contacting Lassa fever.

Okolo, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Enugu, said the rats that cause the disease were mostly in contact with Nigeria’s most popular staple food, garri, a cassava product.

He added that it was necessary to discourage consumption of soaked garri since it did not require boiled water.

Okolo noted that boiled water could go a long way in killing bacteria caused by pest or rodents in garri.

“It is better that the cassava flakes called garri is used for eba, because of the use of hot water.

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“We in the state health ministry are waging total war against rodents through sensitisation, that is what we are doing to ensure we do not have a victim of Lassa fever in the state.

“We are also sensitising the public to ensure that their fruits and raw vegetables are properly washed if they must eat them raw, and cook all foods to the appropriate temperature.

“The best practices for food storage should be encouraged to prevent an epidemic.

”We should always make sure that we use air-tight clean plastic containers to preserve our foodstuff in order to avoid Lassa fever and other food-borne diseases,” he said.

(NAN)