Story

With the current Lassa fever epidemic ravaging Nigeria, a report was made that taking edible meat and local fried cake (Akara) with a used newspaper can make one contact Lassa fever.  The has since made it  to various Social media platforms particularly Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook. A particular post shared by a Twitter user on 26th of January has since been shared more one hundred times.

Findings

Matecfact did an investigation and It was revealed there was no scientifically documented evidence to show that used newspaper was a means transmission of the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) report, Lassa virus can be transmitted to humans mainly through handling rats, food or household items contaminated by rats’ feces and urines.

The virus can spread between people through direct contact with bodily fluids of person infected with Lassa fever, as well as contaminated bedding or clothing. Center for Disease Control, CDC postulated that excreta of the reservoir, rats could accommodate Lassa virus for extended period of time, may be for the rest of its life. And according to CDC, transmission of Lassa virus occurs most commonly through ingestion or inhalation.

Contact with the virus may also occur when a person inhale tiny particles in air contaminated with infected rodents excretion.

Apart from direct contact with rats, transmission may occur after exposure to virus in blood, tissues, and secretion of Lassa virus infected individuals. Casual contact (including skin-to-skin contact without exchange of body fluids) does not spread Lassa fever, CDC submitted.

 

Person -to -person transmission is common in the hospitals where personal protective equipments are not used.

The number of Lassa fever infections across West Africa every year is between 100,000 to 300,000, with about 5,000 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2019, the disease claimed more than 160 lives in Nigeria.

According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) there had been 195 confirmed cases and 29 deaths reported in 11 states, as at 24th of January 2020.

VERDICT

That newspaper used to sell suya (roasted meat) and fried akara may lead to spread of Lassa virus is FALSE.