A health expert, Dr. Chinonso Egemba, has cautioned Nigerians against not rinsing the top of their can drinks before drinking, noting that doing this could predispose them to infections.
Dr. Egemba, popularly known as ‘Aproko Doctor’ on social media said how clean a can drink top depends on where it is stored.
He noted that rats may have come in contact with and even urinated on the can of the drink, hence the reason to always ensure proper rinsing before drinking.
He stated that doing this is especially important at this period when the country is experiencing a Lassa fever outbreak.
Dr. Egemba stated this in a new post on his Instagram page @aproko_doctor.
He said, “I am not saying it is the can that causes Lassa fever, I am saying that it is possible that sometimes depending on where it is stored, rats may urinate on top of the can.
“We know that the urine of multimammate rats can contain Lassa virus and when they urinate on the lid of the can and you open it, put your tongue and lick it, you might get infected”.
Dr. Egemba further said, “It is advisable you either run the top of the can under running water, clean it properly or you use a straw. Especially now that there is Lassa fever, be careful when you are served drinks in cans.”
Reacting to the post, a public health expert, Prof. Tanimola Akande, said, “People who are not fond of cleaning should start cultivating the habit of cleaning the top of cans before opening and drinking from the cans.
“Can drinks after manufacture is handled by several hands in the process of transportation, storage, and sales. The handling may get the top of the cans contaminated, particularly, where hand hygiene practices are poor.
“Insects’ wastes and/or rodent wastes can also contaminate the top of can drinks. Also, in dusty environments, the top of the cans get contaminated.”
The public health expert said the likely health risks an individual could suffer are from contamination from viruses, bacteria, and toxins.
This, Prof Akande said, can further lead to food poisoning and diarrhoea diseases.
Akande who works at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital said, “The best way is to wash the top of cans with soap and hot water and then dry the top with clean cloth or serviette. Where this is not readily available, wipe the top of the can with a clean serviette or running water.”