BORNO State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia has said that Lassa fever has broken out at Zabarmari village, 48 years after the rat-carrying virus was first discovered in Lassa town by the Missionaries in 1969 in the state. Dr. Mshelia spoke on Wednesday in Maiduguri, while briefing reporters on the measures taken against the outbreak of Lassa fever in Zabarmari village at Musa Usman secretariat complex. “Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness of two to 21 days duration and it is transmitted to humans via contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodents’ urine or faeces,” said Dr. Mshelia. He said the 32-year old woman said fell sick last week and was admitted at a government hospital in Maiduguri, stating that a sample of her blood was taken to Lagos for test and returned positive. He said even though the situation, was under control the patient is responding to treatment, before the Ministry of Heath had to summon all stakeholders, including traditional rulers, to sensitise the public on the need to ensure proper sanitation and avoid eating rodents, including household rats. He said that 23 people have been identified, trailed and monitored, and who had contacts with the 32year old Zabarmari patient. “Those suspected to have personal contacts with the patient have been quarantined as the health ministry will soon embark on house-to- house fumigation,” said Dr. Mshelia adding members of the public should not panic. To prevent further outbreaks, he said: “For prevention of further outbreaks of Lassa fever, like I said; one it is the environmental hygiene; two ensure that you don’t keep garbage close to the house. “Three, we try and get rid of the rats around our houses. In our own case we are going to fumigate the whole area. For the general public; keeping a cat in the house will also help. You know cats and rats don’t meet. When you have a cat in your house, the rats will disappear.