Background: Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria with a propensity for seasonal outbreaks in Benin City and is transmissible through consumption of food contaminated with infected rat secretions and excretions. The aim of the study is to determine the impact of Lassa fever on the consumption of processed snacks and food storage practices in University of Benin campuses.
Methods: The study enrolled staff and students of the University in a cross-sectional study of selected 600 respondents using stratified random sampling technique. Questionnaire included socio-demographics, impact of Lassa fever epidemic on the consumption of favorite processed snacks and attitude to food contaminated by rat.
Results: Majority, 274 (45%) were between 15-24 years, 313 (52.2%) were females and singles were 372 (62.0%). Predominant level of education was first degree 143 (23.8%) while income per month of majority of the students was belowN20, 000.00 and above N 80,000.00 for staff. The favorite food/snacks by many students 77(25.6%) was indomie noodles and biscuits 57(18.9%), while 73 (24.3%) staff preferred bread and 52 (17.3%) other snacks. Garri (cassava flakes) was the favorite of 88(14.6%) respondents. Many 306 (50.8%) stored food in containers, some 84 (13.9%) store in cellophane bags, while a few 41 (6.8%) in lockers. When rats nibble on their favorite food/snacks, 385 (68.9%) reported that they dispose the entire food, while 155(25.7%) cut off the eaten portion and consume the rest.
Conclusion: The impact of Lassa fever outbreak on consumption of contaminated processed snacks by respondents showed that majority discard their snacks when contaminated while some remove the contaminated portions and consume remaining part which could be a major health risk