As the Lassa fever scourge ravages some parts of South-west states, members of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Osun State chapter, on Monday took campaigns to markets in Osogbo, the state capital, to enlighten women on its symptoms and how to track the disease.
Leading the team of medical practitioners, the Chairman of NMA, Tokunbo Olajumoke, warned the women and other traders that the outbreak of the disease in Ondo and Osun states was "a delicate signal for the people of the state."
He urged all the traders at Akindeko and Olu-Ode markets, which were the places visited by the doctors, to be wary of rats making contacts with raw foodstuff.
Over 30 cases having been reported in the different parts of Ondo State+-. There have also been enlightenment campaigns in the state by the relevant state departments.
A few cases have also been recorded in Osun State with one death recorded so far.
Mr. Olajumoke said the sensitisation was aimed at educating the traders on the existence of Lassa fever, the symptoms of the fever and the appropriate steps to take in case such symptoms were noticed.
"We came to the markets to talk to people on Lassa fever which has been ravaging most of the state in Nigeria," he said.
"As we are all aware, the vectors (rats) are very close to the people in the market and when they (rats) touch what they (traders) sell, the buyers who consume the food would be infected.
"It is very paramount to sensitise the traders on this and that's why we embarked on this awareness tour to major markets in Osogbo and we are talking to the people in the local language and in a manner that they can understand and get the message so that we can prevent Lassa fever rather than waiting to treat people when infected.
"As you are aware, Lassa fever is already ravaging Ondo State which is very close to Osun and there have been reported cases of Lassa fever in Osun. We have recorded a death in Osun as a result of Lassa fever at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Osun here and it was confirmed.
"Also, 40 people are currently quarantined at isolated centres and they are under close examination to determine if they have been infected. We realise that prevention is better than cure and that was why we came out to sensitise traders today," he added.