Residents of Nasarawa call for greater public awareness about the Lassa virus

Despite being warned of an outbreak of Lassa fever, some residents of New Nyanya were concerned about the continued consumption of bush meat in local joints and bars.

The inhabitants of Mararaba and New Nyanya suburbs in Nasarwa State have appealed to the federal government and other appropriate authorities to create adequate awareness among citizens about the dangers of bush meat consumption.


Recently, a deadly outbreak of Lassa fever spread to some regions of the nation, prompting health advisories from the appropriate authorities.

Despite being warned of an outbreak of Lassa fever, some residents of New Nyanya were concerned about the continued consumption of bush meat in local joints and bars.


They assert that many people are unaware of the epidemic and the dangers, and they note that a sensitization campaign will go far in educating Nigerians about the disease.


Businessman Ben Chibuike, one of the residents, claimed that raising awareness about Lassa fever would aid in lowering cases because the nation had seen a high number of fatalities. 


Because of a lack of information, Mr. Chibuike claimed that many people were unaware of the risks associated with eating bush meat, particularly rats, which are the primary means of transmitting the infection that causes Lassa fever.


“Relevant health agencies should create more awareness to avoid any further spread of the disease, even when it has spread in some states, including Nasarawa,” Mr Chibuike said.


Because there had been no cases of the disease reported in her area, Victoria Simeon, a housewife, claimed to be unaware of it.


However, a healthcare provider named Chioma Eze claimed that despite widespread media coverage of the Lassa fever outbreak, including on television, radio, and other platforms, some Nigerians chose not to take protective measures. 


Ms. Eze pointed out that some tribes were unable to live without eating bush meat, even “house rats,” and that this was a major factor in the spread of the illness.


“Hygiene is the paramount thing in this case; Nigerians should try to keep their homes and environments neat to avoid rats because dirty environments attract rats,” she said.


While Abel Oni, a patron at one of the bush meat joints, would not dispute the existence of Lassa fever, he insisted that this would not deter him from frequenting bush bars.


“Lassa Fever cannot stop me from visiting beer parlours, especially when it has become my place of relaxation,” he said.


However, John Garba, a beer parlour operator, said that Lassa fever could spread if adequate hygiene measures were not considered when preparing the bush meat.


Mr. Garba advised those in charge of these establishments to uphold good food standards and a hygienic environment while also being aware of the disease.


“Preparing bush meat pepper soup has to be done properly to avoid any transmission of infection from the animals,” Mr Garba said.


A reporter visited several “joints,” specifically those that served roasted bush meats and pepper soup along the Abuja–Keffi road, and observed customers eating their usual fare without any hesitation or fear.

Jairus Awo

Jairus Awo is a Nigeiran Muiltimedia public interest journalist. He believes in the power of the media as a catalyst to development and societal growth. You can tip him an idea on [email protected]

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Jairus Awo

Jairus Awo is a Nigeiran Muiltimedia public interest journalist. He believes in the power of the media as a catalyst to development and societal growth. You can tip him an idea on [email protected]

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