Lassa Fever: What You Must Know

Lassa Fever- what you must know

In 1969, Lassa fever was first identified. Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness which las between 2-21 days of duration. This virus can be transmitted through humans when they come into contact with food or items that have been contaminated by the urine or faeces of rodent.
Lassa fever occurs in West Africa. Guinea, Nigeria, Liberia, Benin among others are mostly affected by the virus.

In recent happenings, Nigeria has been troubled by this virus. Spreading through 17 states and may have affected 450 people in less than five weeks says WHO. Ghana, on the other hand, has recorded its first case of Lassa fever this year at the Tema General Hospital on 23rd of February 2018.

What Are the Symptoms of Lassa Fever?

  • Weakness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from the mouth, vagina etc.


How is Lassa Fever Transmitted?

As stated earlier, Lassa fever is mostly transmitted through direct contact with items that have been contaminated by a rodent (urine or faeces). It can also be spread between human when one comes into contact with blood, urine or faces and even secretions of infected persons.
Sharing sharp objects or having sex with infected people can lead to the transmission of the virus.

How is Lassa Fever treated?

Well, there is currently no vaccine for Lassa fever, however, it is always good to see a doctor when you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Furthermore, it is also important to note that symptoms may differ from persons to persons. Some individuals may not even show these symptoms.

How Can You Prevent Lassa Fever?

Like the famous phrase, “prevention is better than cure”, It must always be so. So here is what you need to do to ensure you avoid getting infected by the Lassa virus.
Since the virus is caused by a rodent, the first and best practice is to keep your homes and surroundings clean thereby keeping rodents away. Having said this, foods and foodstuffs should be stored in proper places to avoid exposing them to the virus.
Secondly, when caring for sick persons, be it, family or friend, always avoid contact with blood or body fluid.

Always play safe in bed. Protect yourself at all times and do not forget to wash your hands properly before touching anything being it food or home appliances.

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Reference: WHO ( who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs179/en/ )

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