See The Exact Rats That Cause Lassa Fever

Nigerians had been thrown into serious panic following the return of Lassa Fever to major cities of the country.

From Port-harcourt, the Rivers state capital to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and Delta state, there have been series of reports about the outbreak of the deadly virus which is said to be caused by rats.

The federal government has also confirmed that alongside the states listed above, 14 others have been affected by the Lassa Fever virus as a patient was also said to have escaped from a hospital in Edo state while being treated for the virus, a situation which sent panic around the hospital premises.

Below are photos of the rat that is guilty of spreading the deadly disease:

The multimammate mouse that spreads Lassa Fever. Photo: Wikimedia

The multimammate mouse that spreads Lassa Fever. Photo: Wikimedia

Another photo of the multimammate mouse

Another photo of the multimammate mouse

Why We Can’t Battle Lassa Fever Like Ebola – Prof Adewole

Prof. Isaac Adewole, the minister of health, has explained why the war against a fast-spreading Lassa fever cannot be fought the same way the country tackled Ebola.

Isaac Adewole

“We cannot win the battle against Lassa fever the same way we won the one against Ebola.”

The Guardian reports that Adewole gave reasons while briefing state house correspondents at the presidential villa on Wednesday, January 20.

“We cannot win the battle against Lassa fever the same way we won the one against Ebola. Ebola happened to be a single importation to Nigeria. Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria. In 2012, we had upsurge in 26 states. So, it is there but I can assure you that with what we put in place this year, we will sign it off,” he said.

The minister stressed that the federal government was determined to get to the root of the problem and find the solution. He revealed that the government was planning to put into place some innovative funding mechanisms to manage and put to use 10,000 primary health care centres across Nigeria over the next two years. He added that 110 of these centres will be flagged off in the next 100 days.

Speaking about the outbreak of Lassa fever, Adewole lamented what he described as the culture of silence permeating the society.

“There is also what we can consider to be culture of silence in some of our states. For example, we recognised Ebonyi state as one of the endemic states.

“And since the outbreak, Ebonyi has not recorded a single case or reported a single case. We despatched our surveillance team to Ebonyi and we discovered five cases.

“We are not having resurgence. What we had over the years is a situation which Lassa is endemic in Nigeria. And as I said on numerous occasions, we have these outbreaks. In 2012, we had the highest. We have 1700 case and that declined,” he said.

Adewole denied that cases of Lassa fever were hidden and stressed that the ministry was transparent.

“What has happened is that for the first time in the history of the country, we are being transparent and open and we are telling the entire world what the situation is and that is what is different,” he said.

Earlier this week, speaking at an emergency national council of health meeting Adewole warned Nigerians that “the Lassa fever disease is real” and confirmed that the virus spread to 17 states, affected 62 local government areas and 212 suspected cases within nine weeks.

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43-Year-Old Fake Doctor Arrested With 7 Forged Certificates

Opeyemi Adesina has been arrested for parading himself as a consultant gynaecologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos.

Adesina, 43, confessed to have paid N100,000 to buy the seven forged certificates he has been using after being picked up by the Alakara Police Division on Alowolodu Street in the Alapere, Ketu area of the state.

The fake doctor and his certificates after the arrest by Police Officers.

According to The Punch, the Ekiti-state indigene’s arrest was effected after his landlord, Akorede, wrote an SOS petition to the management of the hospital over allegations that Adesina brought home female patients to treat in his house.

The landlord also alleged that the fake medic did abortions, among other unwholesome practices which could implicate him (the landlord), to the ladies during the visit.

In the letter, Akorede explained further that the doctor allegedly claimed to be a consultant gynaecologist with LUTH when confronted and also presented the referral cases from the hospital to his house so that he could have time to attend to them.

The Punch gathered that Adesina was arrested when LUTH authorities, who could not find such name in the record of their consultants, forwarded the letter to the police to pick up the culprit.

In his confession, Adesina said: “I bought the certificates from Kolawole in Ibadan. That was three years ago. I bought them from him for N100,000. He printed the seven certificates.

“I do not know where he stays. We did not meet in any specific location. We usually met at fast food joints or any agreed place. For instance, it was at Agodi Gate area that I gave him the money and got the certificates. I decided to use another name on the certificates.

“I forged them because I dropped out of the university. I was actually studying Medicine. However, I dropped out in the 500 level due to financial reasons.

“I married my wife about five years ago. She thought I was a certified doctor. She actually came to me for treatment in the Ketu area and that was how we met. We have a child.”

On the allegations leveled against him by the house owner, the fake medical practitioner said: “Three years ago, I decided to get the certificates just to cover up for the failure to finish my university education.

“It is not true that I brought women to treat at home. The truth of the matter is that I have a laboratory and the women came there. I usually did tests for them and by the time the test results were out, I would ask them to visit a hospital for treatment.”t

While she did not deny the husband’s overtures, Olawumi, the suspect’s spouse pleaded that her husband should be released since he has now realised his wrongdoings.

Speaking on the matter, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Dolapo Badmos, said: “Upon a written petition from the management of LUTH, Idi-Araba, the suspect was arrested for falsely practising as a medical doctor and consultant gynaecologist.

“He confessed to have been in the practice for three years, and seven certificates were recovered from him. He will be charged to court soon.”

30 random animal facts that may surprise you

snowy owl

Earth is home to about 1 million known animal species, each one representing an ancient tome of biological trivia. Much of this random knowledge gets lost in the ether, leaving us to speculate about things like dinosaur divorce rates or amphibian dance moves. But we still catch an awful lot, providing us with plenty of interesting — if not always actionable — facts about our fellow fauna.

The list below is a tribute to such trivia. From extinct penguins to newly identified wasps, these tidbits reflect the depth of our own species’ curiosity about nature — and our skill in shedding new light on it. As you peruse these facts, imagine all that went into discovering each one. We embrace their randomness here, but most hail from a robust body of knowledge about the animal in question.

So without further ado, here are 36 random animal facts that may interest you:

1. A type of “immortal” jellyfish is capable of cheating death indefinitely.

octopus2. Octopuses have three hearts.

3. Butterflies can taste with their feet.

4. Cats and horses are highly susceptible to black widow venom, but dogs are relatively resistant. Sheep and rabbits are apparently immune.

5. Sharks kill fewer than 10 people per year. Humans kill about 100 million sharks per year.

6. Wild dolphins call each other by name.

7. Young goats pick up accents from each other.

8. Humpback whale songs spread like “cultural ripples from one population to another.”

humpback whales

9. Tardigrades are extremely durable microscopic animals that exist all over Earth. They can survive any of the following: 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 Celsius), -458 degrees F (-272 C), the vacuum of space, pressure six times stronger than the ocean floor and more than a decade without food.

10. Horses use facial expressions to communicate with each other.

elephant11. Elephants have a specific alarm call that means “human.”

12. Squirrels can’t burp or vomit.

13. Less time separates the existence of humans and the tyrannosaurus rex than the T-rex and the stegosaurus.

14. There’s a place on Earth where seagulls prey on right whales.

15. Owls don’t have eyeballs. They have eye tubes.

16. Animals with smaller bodies and faster metabolism see in slow motion.

17. Dogs’ sense of smell is about 100,000 times stronger than humans’, but they have just one-sixth our number of taste buds.

18. The extinct colossus penguin stood as tall as LeBron James.

19. Male gentoo and Adelie penguins “propose” to females by giving them a pebble.

20. Azara’s owl monkeys are more monogamous than humans.

21. Barn owls are normally monogamous, but about 25 percent of mated pairs “divorce.”

22. A group of parrots is known as a pandemonium.

23. Polar bears have black skin.

24. Reindeer eyeballs turn blue in winter to help them see at lower light levels.

25. A human brain operates on about 15 watts.

26. Warmer weather causes more turtles to be born female than male.

27. African buffalo herds display voting behavior, in which individuals register their travel preference by standing up, looking in one direction and then lying back down. Only adult females can vote.

28. If a honeybee keeps waggle dancing in favor of an unpopular nesting site, other workers headbutt her to help the colony reach a consensus.

29. Honeybees can flap their wings 200 times every second.

30. The claws of a mantis shrimp can accelerate as quickly as a .22-caliber bullet.

On the Brink of a Cure: An Innovative Immunologist’s Quest for an AIDS Vaccine

Louis Picker, an immunologist at Portland’s Oregon Health & Science University, believes he’s working toward a vaccine to prevent and cure AIDS: “I think within 15 years we’ll have both.” In 2013, his vaccine research showed the first evidence of monkeys eradicating the AIDS-causing virus from their bodies; he inoculated them with weakened CMV — or cytomegalovirus, an infectious agent in the herpes family — which not only pumped up their immune systems and fought off the virus, but killed it off entirely. At Portland Monthly, Jennifer Abbasi profiles the ambitious researcher, whose project’s first human study is set to begin later this year.

Picker set out to prevent AIDS, not cure it. In 2006, he and his team began vaccinating macaques against SIV, the monkey version of HIV. The researchers placed bits of SIV genes inside weakened CMV, hoping the macaques’ immune systems would then mount their natural immediate, large-scale response to CMV. “The immune system will make a response both to the CMV genes and to the SIV or HIV genes that will be in the same flavor, so to speak,” Picker explains. This approach contrasts sharply with that of most HIV vaccine projects, which typically focus on generating antibodies to block infection. Instead, Picker’s method aims to provoke T cells to prevent an infection from progressing to disease. Two years after he inoculated the first group of monkeys with the CMV-based vaccine, he exposed them to SIV.

In 2013, Nature reported Picker’s surprising findings: not only were most of the macaques able to control SIV, but over time their immune systems completely killed off the virus. It was the first evidence of monkeys eliminating the AIDS-causing virus from their bodies. Says Koff: “Louis straddles the prevention and the cure. The most intriguing thing about his vaccine is that the responding animals appear to clear the infection.”

Read the story

Lassa Fever Claims 35 Lives

The federal Ministry of Health on Wednesday, January 6, disclosed that the latest outbreak of Lassa fever has claimed the lives of 35 people since November 2015.

Lassa Fever Kills 35 Persons

File photo of minister of health, Prof. Issac Adewole

Also about 79 people were infected across eight states of Bauchi, Niger, Nasarawa, Kano, Rivers, Oyo and Edo. The minister of health, Isaac Adewole, made this known at a news conference in Abuja.

He said that laboratory tests have confirmed that 14 people had tested positive for Lassa fever in the past six weeks.

Adewole said the first case of the disease was reported in Bauchi followed by Kano, and added that affected people suffered acute fever with bleeding.

The ministry stated that the symptoms of the virus infection take six to 21 days to manifest and there are no symptoms in 80% of infections.

The virus begins slowly but spreads gradually affecting several organs in the body such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.

The common symptoms include fever, general weakness and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing and bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure.

The “multimammate rat” called Mastomys natalensis, which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas, is the natural host of the Lassa virus which is shed in the urine and droppings and is transmitted through direct contact, touching objects or eating food contaminated with these materials or through cuts or sores.

The ministry also explained that the infection can be picked up in hospital when prevention and control measures are not observed.

The ministry said: “Person to person transmission also occurs, especially when a person comes in contact with the virus in the blood, tissue, secretions or excrements of an infected individual.”

The minister explained further that the ministry has released a supply of the antiviral drug Ribavirin to affected states, stating that rapid response teams have also been deployed to assist in investigating and verifying the cases and tracing of contacts.

Adewole added: “Nigeria has the capability to diagnose Lassa fever and all the cases reported so far were confirmed by our laboratories.”

The ministry has opened hotlines to contact epidemiologists and the federal health ministry in the event of cases suspected to be Lassa fever: 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.

LASSA FEVER PREVENTION TIPS.

Lassa fever is a disease from the infectious agent, Lassa
virus. This fever is endemic in certain country such as
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and also Nigeria. Congo, Mali
and Senegal reported to have serological human infection
as well.
How is the virus spread?
In West Africa, the reservoir for the virus is the wild rodents.
Wild rodents, including the mouse is carrying the virus if the
rodent is infected. The urine, stool, blood, saliva and the
mucus of the infected rodent is full of viruses. Human can
get the virus if accidentally touched, consumed, and any sort
of direct contact of the infected rodent excreta as listed
above. Virus spread from human to human also possible by
sexual contact, air droplets, and direct contact with
pharyngeal secretions or urine of the infected person.
*The Symptoms
You should seek your doctor immediately if you are
experiencing these symptoms, especially when there is an
outbreak of Lassa fever in your place:
-malaise
-fever
-headache
-myalgia
-sore throat,
-cough
-nausea
-vomiting
-diarrhoea
-chest pain
-abdominal pain
You may get these symptoms after 6 to 21 days of
exposure to the Lassa virus.
*How serious is this disease?
This is an acute viral disease. It is also spreading faster if
there is no proper preventive action to be taken. If you have
a low immunity and you have another illness, this Lassa
fever will make your health condition even worst. You will
have the risk of a severe multi system disease.
This is a very dangerous disease for the pregnant women
because they have the lowest immunity at this stage. The
chance to have fatal loss is about 80%. Without an early
check up or identification, a person who suffer by this
disease will get a lot of health problems such as
hypotension, haemorrhage, seizures and edema of the face.
People can die if the infection is severe and did not receive
the proper treatment on time. This is a disease that
susceptible to all ages. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine
for this disease at this moment.
*Prevention That You Can Do At Home
Prevention is better than cure. It is highly recommended for
every people to know how important to have the knowledge
to prevent any diseases from striking the family, friends and
relatives. Lassa fever is a viral illness that spread by wild
rodents or any infected rodent. The main steps that you
have to take are:
1) Clean your house inside and out:
Rodents will come to your house for food and water. If your
house have improper food waste disposal or you don’t
covered your garbage bin correctly, the mouse or any
rodents will be the pest around your house and spreading
the virus at the same time.
Clean your house every day inside and out to avoid any
traces of infected rodents. Burn the garbage if you can or
disposed it in the correct and safe procedure. Never let any
food waste scatter around the house because it can attract
the rodents. Make sure your house is always clean and
clutter free to ensure you are not providing the rodents the
food and place to live in your house.
2) Never clean the rodents dropping or stool, urine or dead
body with bare hands:
While you are cleaning, you might found this around your
house. For your safety and to avoid the virus transmission,
you have to always wear personal protection equipment
while you are cleaning your house from rodents dropping,
urine, secretions and the decaying dead body of the animal.
Wear a plastic hand glove and top it with a latex glove for
extra protection while you are cleaning your house. Wear a
single use plastic apron to protect your clothes and body.
Wear a high knee boot to protect your feet from stepping on
the infected dead body of the animal and its body secretion.
Use the antibacterial detergent or antibacterial soap to clean
your house floor and surfaces.
3) Personal Hygiene:
Never touch your kids or family at home before you clean
your hands and change your clothes after cleaning your
house or you just back from work outside. Never recycle
your plastic hand gloves and single use apron after cleaning
the house with it. Dispose it safely in a plastic bag or burn
it. Ask your children to take their bath after back from
school. Never touch a baby or a pregnant woman if you are
not cleaning your hands or take a bath with soap after back
from work or cleaning the house area.
Make sure you wash your hand with soap and water before
eating as well.

Fatoki Akinwumi's photo.

Benue Bans Eating Of Rats Over Fear Of Lassa Fever

In order to curtail the spread of Lassa fever, the Benue state government has directed people in the state to desist from eating rats for the meantime.

Benue Bans Eating Of Rat

Benue state government has banned the eating of rat

This directive was given by Governor Samuel Ortom at Aso Villa shortly after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The governor explained that the step becomes necessary as the state had recorded a case of the virus, The Punch reports.

It was learnt that rat is a delicacy popular among the people of the state.

Ortom said: “Benue is affected; we have one case of Lassa Fever right now that is under control.

“We have advised our people that rat which is a major carrier, is a delicacy; I am finding it difficult but I have told them to suspend eating rats now until further notice.”

He also noted that he has decided to make agriculture the main priority programme of his administration because he had premonition early enough that a time would come when the nation would be face with dwindle revenue.

Also about 79 people were infected across eight states of Bauchi, Niger, Nasarawa, Kano, Rivers, Oyo and Edo.

He said that laboratory tests had confirmed that 14 people had tested positive for Lassa fever in the past six weeks.

Lassa Fever: Senator Urges Health Ministry To Breed Cats

A Nigerian senator has called on the ministry of healthy to breed more cats that would help in the elimination of rats which causes lassa fever.

Shehu Sani

Senator Shehu Sani

Speaking during a prayer session for those that had died due to Lassa fever at the senate plenary on Tuesday, January 12, Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central on a lighter note said the health ministry needs to be encouraged to breed more cats.

The senate in a motion prayer at its plenary had also commended the ministry of health for its effort in curbing the recent outbreak of lassa fever.

The motion was sponsored by Theodore Orji, Jonah Jang, Andy Uba, Suleiman Nazif and Matthew Urhoghide.

On the motion, the senate agreed that its committee on health should send an invitation to the minister of health, Isaac Adewole and other agencies on briefs on the prevention of the outbreak.

Concerned about the sudden outbreak, the senate said it is aware that the disease frequently infects people in West Africa and results in 300,000 to 500,000 cases annually which also results to about 5,000 deaths.

Senators also said it is worrisome that responsible health agencies emphasise awareness only after the outbreaks appear, the senate urged all relevant agencies to initiate long term strategies to avoid future outbreaks.

Nigeria’s ministry of health has confirmed 35 deaths out of 76 victims which has so far spread to 10 states and traced to lassa fever usually caused by rodents –rats.

Also recently, the Benue state government has banned the eating, selling of rat meat, one of its staple foods till the eradication of lassa fever.