Lassa fever: Stop drinking garri - Medical expert warns

With the recent trend of events, the fear of Lassa fever seems to be the beginning of wisdom.

Following the reports that Nigerians have been warned to stay away from the consumption of soaked garri, at least for now so as to prevent Lassa fever, Doctor Bamidele Mutiu a clinical microbiologist as well as head of department microbiology and parasitology Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, in an interview with, discourages the consumption of soaked garri.

According to him one of the major means of getting infected with Lassa fever virus is that the house rats that cause it are mostly in contact with garri while in storage.

He said: “Garri once it is processed and you are going to drink it, it does not go through any boiling or heating process and one never knows the storage facilities available in the market where it is bought from. The tendency the garri may have been contaminated with the saliva, excreta or urine of the rodent in storage is there.

So to reduce the chances of getting infected one should refrain from taking garri. Even when making eba, people should turn it on fire, as the heat kills any pathogen that is present.”

Doctor Mutiu said another means of contracting the virus is getting in contact with he body fluids of the patient that is already infected.

On if the virus is contagious he said: “Once the patient has the fever it means the virus is already multiplying in the blood stream and at that point the patient is contagious to other people around including care givers and family members. Even health workers are at a risk of getting infected.”

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