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Imo State Governor Bans Drinking Of Garri As Lassa Fever Spreads

Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State passed a warning urging citizens to stop drinking 'raw garri' as three persons in the state has died from Lassa fever.
Apart from three persons confirmed dead from Lassa fever in the state, seven cases of patients with Lassa fever were also confirmed.

This disease is spreading quickly in many parts of the country.

The first case this year was confirmed in Ebonyi state more than a week ago in which four people, including three health workers were confirmed dead.

The killer disease has also spread to other states including Kogi and Ondo, with persons also confirmed dead.

Governor Okorocha, confirmed this in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, and warns residents of the state to stop drinking raw garri (or cassava flakes) and also should avoid crowded areas.

"This is not the period for people to drink raw garri because you know garri is not cooked and people just pour water on garri and drink and when rat has urinated on the garri. So people are advised as much as possible to ensure that their food is properly cooked," Governor Okorocha said.

"This morning we woke up to hear that Lassa fever has killed three persons and we also have seven cases of Lassa fever patients and this number is too large for a State. And we are concerned about the speed of spread.

"These cases were recorded in some hospitals, somewhere in Orlu and some other parts of the State. For this reason, we kindly advise that people should avoid over crowded areas, lessen the shaking of hands, and body contacts at this period," the governor continues.

"The State is on it. The Ministry of Health has been adequately informed to take all necessary steps to curtail the spread.
"All the identified cases especially in Orlu, have been isolated and we have told the doctors not to take any more patients and even those in the hospital would be quarantined until such a time we have confirmed they are now positive in any form or shape."

"We will do everything humanly possible to make sure that this spread is curtailed. While government is taking this action, people should keep a clean and healthy environment at this time, avoid so many children staying in one place while government should handle the burial of those that died of Lassa fever. As you know, Lassa fever is deadly but if any discovery is made, lives can be saved," he added.

Lassa fever is a viral infection spread by the multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis), which is one of the most common mice in equatorial Africa found across much of sub-Saharan Africa.

The disease is commonly caused when the rodent's urine or faeces comes in contact with food or household items.