I have been resisting the urge to write about Zika and Lassa mainly because information about them is all over the internet and a little search will give you all the information you need. However, today, a friend asked me why she couldn’t find any information on the Zika virus and Lassa fever on my site. Should I say she was disappointed? Maybe not? Are you my dear reader disappointed? Ok…. I have written a little something on Zika and Lassa – just my thoughts, nothing more.
I am not going to bore you with the usual symptoms and prevention gist. Rather let me share my feelings about it especially this damn Zika virus but let me start with Lassa fever afterall it’s here live in Lagos Nigeria.
2 years ago, I returned to Nigeria and it was immediately a nightmare. Why? I am a clean freak. I keep things clean especially my bathroom and kitchen. Bedroom not so much as you can find books and clothes occupying half of my bed and my wardrobe very disorganised. Well I had lived nearly 9 years in the UK and had forgotten completely about pest issues in Nigeria. Well I return and find cockroaches, ants and baby rats competing for space in the flat where I lived. Cockroaches and ants I can deal with – easy to crush with my feet. Rats?! Huh! I no de use eye see rat (for my foreign readers that means I can’t bear the sight of rats!). They just freak me out.
Now don’t get me wrong – there are rats (lots of rats in London) but never did I find one in my home. I saw them in the bin areas and in train stations. We had a bin house where I lived so to throw away rubbish, I would open the door and stand at a distance and fling my rubbish into the bin house. Sometimes I got it into the bin (good basketball skills), other times they fell on the floor but no way was I going to enter them houses to pick them up! The rats were super massive! I actually lived behind a train station and did everything to make sure they never entered my home and they never did. Same thing I am doing in Nigeria but I guess the rats here are just gangstar!
April 2014, exactly on good Friday – 2 months after returning to Nigeria. I step into the bathroom to get ready for Church. Lo and behold, a massive rat lay helplessly on the bathroom floor. I scream and run out to call one of the security guys to help get rid of it. How on earth did that get in here? I lock doors especially the ones leading outside. I scream at anyone who dares to leave the door open! So how on earth did that crap get in here, I asked my sister. Her reply? They can come through the toilet! Jesus! I packed a few things in a hurry and ran to my mum’s. I cried like a baby that day. A rat? How am I going to survive living with a rat?! Believe ye me, I couldn’t sit properly on the toilet for weeks – what if a rat just decides to visit while I am at it?
Unfortunately, one big rat did visit through the toilet but luckily it was the visitor’s toilet. My mum was visiting and decided to use the visitors toilet which I never use cos it’s so at one corner, a little small and I have never felt comfortable with it – too secluded I guess. She opens the door and says something smells in here. Did someone use the toilet and not flush? She looked into the toilet and behold a massive rat – very dead. Had been dead for days. I never knew since I never use that toilet. This new revelation nearly killed me.
Luckily that was my last experience with big rats in the flat. Luckily I just moved to a new place and have had no issues with pests except when I saw one at the back where we keep generators. Since then, I haven’t bothered with the generator anymore. I can’t come and kill myself with unnecessary stress and worry.
Just maybe I should get a cat… (wondering if it will do anything!) Here’s a joke I received recently from my sister. Actually this is the only image of a rat I could stand.
The last 2 years has been a battle to get rid of small rats who manage to find their way through small holes at the kitchen window. They smart like that. Cockroaches too have been a problem. No matter how much insecticide I use, they return within days. Sometimes they wake me up from my sleep when they crawl up my face, arms or body. You need to see the way I jump from sleep and kill they so bad!
In the last 2 years, because of cockroaches and rats, I keep my toothbrush in the fridge and I wash everything before I use – every single thing. Everyone knows they need to wash anything before they hand it to me – my mum especially. When I stop over at hers to eat, without me asking she tells me she washed my plate over and over again before she put the food lol. It took a few arguments for her to accept the way I like things done – she thinks I’m hard work so do my sisters. My sisters think it’s because of my Safety profession they jokingly say “HSE pro” but no it’s not because of that. It’s just me – maybe a little OCD? Plus don’t forget my background is in Biomedical Sciences and I studied much about diseases and food microbiology so I guess what I was taught and learnt has stayed with me over the years.
Now Lassa fever hits town and I believe it is a struggle for many to wash everything but for me it comes naturally! One of the issues with Lassa is that you can get it through infected food. It is funny that months ago before the Lassa issue started, I decided to stop drinking garri and reduce eating out to a bare minimum (saving the bare minimum for situations when I am out of the house, too hungry and nearly dropping).
The reason I decided against garri was because one day at my old place, I found my container where I store garri slightly open – I freaked out. I imagined rats and cockroaches playing and kissing my food! Then a thought punched me – how on earth do these women who sell garri store them?! Many of them live in poor conditions and are used to rats. I swore that day never to drink garri again or eat eba. My clean freak attitude just cost me that. Oh how I miss garri and groundnut (sobs).
Now Lassa? Definitely no garri! Ever! Even if it comes in a satchet and swears to have dropped from heaven!
A virus that shrinks babies’ brain? Scary! Who invented this crap? Thats all I could say when I first heard about it. Surely this virus didn’t just happen. Was this an experiment that went wrong? Thinking of the rumours on HIV and Ebola (created to wipe out the black race or possibly something more sinister?). Can’t help but wonder! If invented, then there are some dumb ass creatures out there in the name of scientists! These viruses and diseases are not respecter of man.
As we all know, Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito. Zika is not present in Nigeria at the moment and hopefully it never visits since mosquito is a normal visitor in all homes – be it in Banana Island (a haven for the rich in Lagos) or PawPaw village (dream haven for the future rich like me 😉 ). Surely there are mosquitos in Banana Island?
My worry is that we are doing nothing neither are we prepared to fight it if it does visit. Shouldn’t the government be fumigating and cleaning public places? Our gutters are so dirty and stinky! You use insecticide in your home and in a matter of days, they are re-infested with mosquitoes! One minute everything is fine and dandy, the next you just see them fly past you, dance and sing them silly songs in your ears or just expertly perch on you and bite!
If you didn’t know, Zika virus was first discovered in humans in Nigeria in the 1950s. This gives me concern that there is a likelihood it will probably visit again since we have the Aedes mosquito here in Nigeria? And if it does, we probably won’t know until a baby is born with microcephaly and possibly faced with lasting ill health!
Apparently, Zika can be transmitted through sex! Someone in Dallas who didn’t travel to the risky zones had sex with someone who just returned form a risk zone and contracted the Zika virus!
Apparently, Zika once you have it can be found in saliva and urine so it can be passed on through bodily fluids – I’m concluding it is nearly as lethal as Ebola and Lassa! The CDC has published guidelines around sex and Zika – check it out here. Though Zika was restricted to Latin America apparently, America now has it and Spain (in Europe) is reported to now have some cases.
I am worried for the world! What is going on?! I am scared for unborn baby and pregnant women. Who’s going to help us? I have different thoughts and theories on this Zika and even Ebola – I think it is wise I keep them to myself. Conspiracy theorists out there believe Zika was created to act as a biological weapon – as usual, the blame is on America.
Is this for real? We can only hope and pray it isn’t. Maybe Lassa too was created? Am I making any sense? I am confused and a little worried. God himself said it – the heart of man is deceitful above all things and DESPERATELY wicked, who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9) but then I have my consolation – Psalm 91 (especially verses 5 – 8).
Stay Safe folks!