Panguma has been referred as the country’s Lassa belt. Ansumana Saidu 35, Fatmata Dauda 30, and two others lost their precious lives to Lassa in January and February respectively. Numerous people had also met their untimely deaths in the aforementioned town, owing to the fatal disease.
Rats belonging to a species known as Masstomisnalensis were the primary haulers of the Lassa Virus. The people of Panguma were aware of the dangers of Lassa fever, but engaging in the necessary precautions happened to be a crisis, owing to the fact that most people developed the addiction of eating rats.
It had been claimed that the months of January, February, March and April were the Lassa fever peak months in Panguma. Most families in the chiefdom properly look after their food, water, dishes and other household materials, to avoid contacts with rats.
During this period, farmers usually harvested their produce and left the farms with nothing for the rats to eat, owing to that most if not all the rats migrated from the farms to dwelling homes, in search of food.
As a result of dry season, many streams got dried in the chiefdom and the surviving streams water was contaminated with the Lassa Virus, simply because it could be easily access by the rats. A situation that made difficult to eradicate Lassa fever.
“Mabua” happened to be one of the surviving streams, wherein people have fetched water for domestic purposes during water shortage. According to Anthony Garba, a community teacher of the Lower Barbara Senior Secondary School explained that they normally recorded Lassa cases whenever the streams were continuously used by the community people.
“We experienced week’s water shortage at the beginning of February so the streams became our secondary option and just after that, we had three Lassa deaths”. Anthony added.
Most people in the chiefdom distrust the functions in their community hospital, they normally seek the attention of native or quack village doctor, and that happened to be the spreading processed of Lassa virus in the chiefdom.
People around the chiefdom attributed the recent attack of Lassa in their chiefdom to the increasing consumption of cats and rats..
“Cats are very sweet and I had also been told that anyone who eats 49 cat heads will enter heaven. I have just eaten 6, I still need 43 more to enter heaven” a youth who begged not to be named told me.
In a telephone interview with the head of Data and Disease Surveillance and Control at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, David Kabba Kargbo clearly stated that are aware of the recent, four Lassa deaths at Panguma.
He went on to say that they recently conducted test on sixteen suspected Lassa cases, but all the results were negative. He ended by saying that at the moment, there was no Lassa admitted patients in the country.