Just today, Celebrities Buzz shared a story monitored by TunesAfrik.com on one Dr. Boniface Okolo calling on all to stop drinking Gari.
According to him, eating gari (gari soaking) food can cause Lassa fever.
Many people started reacting with some labeling the doctor as ‘Dumb’. Others argued that they’ve been consuming gari for over decades and hasn’t yet contracted such disease hence the doctor’s assertion does not hold.
TunesAfrik has taken time to do a research on it for its followers.
Eating Gari which wasn’t produced or kept under strict hygienic conditions can cause a disease known as Lissa Fever.
What is Lassa fever?
“Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms.
The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate mouse.”
Lassa fever according to a report cited on BBC News is one of a number of illnesses that can cause dangerous epidemics, but for which no vaccine currently exists.
Lassa fever is not a new disease, but the current outbreak is unprecedented, spreading faster and further than ever before.
Health workers are overstretched, and a number have themselves become infected and died.
The potentially fatal disease is a so-called “viral hemorrhagic fever”, which can affect many organs, and damage the body’s blood vessels.
But it is difficult to treat.
Most people who catch Lassa will have only mild symptoms such as fever, headache, and general weakness. They may have none at all.
However, in severe cases, it can mimic another deadly hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, causing bleeding through the nose, mouth and other parts of the body.
Lassa fever normally has a fatality rate of about one percent. But in the Nigerian outbreak, it is thought to be more than 20% among confirmed and probable cases, according to the country’s Centre for Disease Control.
About 90 people are thought to have died so far, but the true number may be much higher because Lassa is so hard to diagnose.
Women who contract the disease late in pregnancy face an 80% chance of losing their child, or dying themselves.
In the early stages, it’s almost impossible to distinguish from other common diseases like malaria and dengue.
With no readily available test, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to analyze a blood or tissue sample in one of the small numbers of specialized laboratories.
The disease was first identified in the Nigerian town of Lassa in 1969, after an outbreak in a mission hospital.
It has since been seen in many West African countries including Ghana, Mali, and Sierra Leone.
Why Are They Saying Gari Can Cause Lassa Fever?
Most people catch Lassa fever from anything contaminated with rat urine, feces, blood or saliva – through eating, drinking or simply handling contaminated objects in the home.
Rats that cause the disease are mostly in contact with African most popular staple food ‘gari,’ a cassava product.
This is so because the food that is mostly manufactured in the villages ain’t sometimes kept under strict hygienic conditions.
Lassa Fever can also pass from person to person through bodily fluids, meaning healthcare workers and people taking care of sick relatives without protective equipment are particularly at risk.
The incubation period for Lassa is up to three weeks. Researchers are trying to work out whether – like Ebola – Lassa can stay in the body and be passed on through sexual contact even after illness subsides.
Let’s all be careful when eating Gari.