Associate Professor of Public Health, Dr. Jennifer Tyndall, has been speaking to us about the outbreak of Lassa Fever in Adamawa State.
Professor Tyndall says the AUN Community is safe and not vulnerable to the disease as the University has been maintaining excellent environmental standards.
"There is nothing to worry about at all on-campus about Lassa Fever. AUN is a very clean environment."
However, she recommended caution and vigilance within the community.
The public health expert explained that there have been four suspected cases in Adamawa, one each from Girei, Yola North, Yola South, and Numan LGAs.
"So far, there are no positive Lassa Fever cases in Adamawa apart from the victim from Numan who passed away."
The Adamawa State Ministry of Health is conducting investigations as confirmed by the Director of Health at the State Ministry.
"Specifically in those local government areas where the suspect case died, active surveillance is being conducted by public health officials in the areas where the four individuals resided.
A free treatment center has been set up at the Federal Medical Center, Yola, for anyone who may be vulnerable or perceived as at risk.
"But it is very unlikely."
Explaining the causes of this highly contagious disease, she said the initial transmission is by an infected animal, which then infects humans.
Preventive measures include avoiding contact with dead animals.
"Mainly rodents, that is, rats in this case” and "avoiding contaminated food sources and grains left in the open."
Raw foodstuffs (such as grains, yams, and potatoes) and cooked food as well as cooking utensils should be kept off the ground or in sealed containers.
"People tend to store grains for a long time. Storage of grains should be minimized or storage facilities should be properly sanitized before dry storage."
Besides the clean environment of the AUN campus, another reason the contamination by rats is highly unlikely within the AUN community, Professor Tyndall said, is that there are cats and mongooses on campus.
"They seem to have suddenly found a home at AUN. They feed on rats and other small rodents such as mice.
At AUN, students hardly go to the bushes, that is, if they do at all. "So far, the contact between students and rats is almost negligible."
She advised students to stay on campus and patronize the campus cafeteria and other eating outlets within.
"I can confirm that things will be safer on campus. I will advise that they stay on campus for safety until a more in-depth briefing."
Jennifer Tyndall is an associate Professor in AUN Natural & Environmental Sciences program. She earned her PhD in Immunology & Infectious Diseases from Liverpool University in the UK.
Professor Tyndall has a keen interest in Public Health. She has worked in Gabon and Cameroon on several tropical disease projects including malaria and river blindness. Professor Tyndall is an active supporter of community projects at AUN and has worked extensively with students and faculty in collaboration with health institutions throughout the state.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa