Jibayo Adeyeye, acting commissioner for health in Ondo, says in spite of the fatalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lassa fever has killed more people in the state.
Adeyeye spoke during a road walk sensitisation on the eradication of Lassa fever in Owo, Owo local government area of the state.
The commissioner, who described Lassa fever as deadlier than COVID-19, said record shows that 18 percent fatality was recorded from the total reported cases of Lassa fever in the state as against less than one percent of COVID-19 related deaths.
He added that of all the confirmed cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria, 75 percent were from three states, with Ondo topping the chart with 36 percent.
While stating that Owo and Ose local government areas of the state were the epicenters of Lassa fever, he appealed to residents to shun bad habits that could lead to the spread of the disease.
The commissioner also advised residents to ensure the extermination of rodents which, he said, were the carriers of the disease.
The commissioner said this had necessitated the free distribution of 10,000 rodenticides to the people of the state.
He also noted that COVID-19 had killed 41 people in the state from January to date while on the other hand, Lassa fever had killed more than 80.
“Lassa fever has been with us for long. It is when the dry season starts that we usually experience the disease. Ondo is one of the states in Nigeria where the disease is rampant,” Adeyeye said.
“This is a serious situation which must not be taken lightly. We are determined to eradicate it and it can be prevented if we eradicate rodents from our homes and surroundings.
“The rodenticide is being distributed free and must not be sold by anyone. It is meant to be applied in homes to eradicate rats. If we don’t kill the rats, they will kill us.
“We decided to start the campaign in Owo since it is one of the epicentres of the disease in the state.”
According to the Lassa fever situation report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 1163 confirmed cases of Lassa fever have been recorded in the country with 241 fatalities.