Sellers of rat poisons and traps in Abuja have reported a rise in sales following the outbreak of Lassa fever in 10 states.
A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday in Abuja showed that residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were buying either the rat poisons or other traps than hitherto.
At Garki, Utako and Wuse Markets, rat poison sellers were seen brandishing their products and winning the attention of eager customers, who before the Lassa outbreak never paid attention to the products.
Malam Usman Abdullahi, a rat poison seller in the Garki market, told NAN he had recorded enormous sales in the past two weeks since the outbreak was recorded.
“The demand rose immediately one person was reported killed by the fever in Abuja.
“People now patronise us; the most expensive rat poison that used to go for N600 is now sold for N700 but people still buy without complaining,” he said.
“Most of the time, customers ask for the strongest poison that will kill rats instantly; the poison that kills and dries up the rats are really in demand.
“Although the Lassa disease is a bad thing, for us it is good business since we are making our profit,” he said.
At traffic points, hawkers included those selling rat poison products to customers in the vehicles.
Mrs. Patricia Eloma, a housewife, said that people are now paying attention to the elimination of rodents around their houses since they had become a serious threat.
“There are some very `stubborn’ rats that have refused to die, no matter what is thrown at them; rats are becoming intelligent and seem to be ahead of all the tricks.
“They are accustomed to normal poisons, so we have to devise other ways or seek stronger chemicals to kill them.
“Some jump over traps or ignored the poisoned, so we are utilising any new product out there to terminate them,’’ she said.
She noted that clean environments, professional fumigation and consciousness to close doors would drive rodents away.
Health Minister Isaac Adewole, last Thursday confirmed that a man had died as a result of Lassa fever at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The patient, who had travelled from Jos to Abuja, was reported to have been brought in unconscious from a private hospital in Kubwa and died within 24 hours of reaching the National Hospital.
This incident has increased the number of deaths recorded since the recent outbreak of the disease in August 2015 to 43.
Lassa fever or Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus, first discovered in 1969 in Lassa town, Borno.