Lassa fever disease is however date from the 1950s. The virus was first experience in 1969 from a case in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria
Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not realy develop symptoms. When symptoms occur, it usually develop after 6-21 days of initial transmission contact. They can include: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, facial swelling and nosebleeds. In severe cases and without treatment, patients can begin bleeding from the mouth or nose and their lungs can fill with fluid.
The risk of death once infected is about one percent and frequently occurs within two weeks of the onset of symptoms. Among those who survive about a quarter have hearing loss, which improves within three months in about half of these cases.
Mode of transmission
The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate mouse. Spread can then occur via direct contact between people. Human-to-human transmission is also possible, via contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Diagnosis based on symptoms is difficult. Confirmation is by laboratory testing to detect the virus’s RNA, antibodies for the virus, or the virus itself in cell culture. Other conditions that may present similarly include Ebola, malaria, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. The Lassa virus is a member of the Arenaviridae family of viruses
What are it’s cure
There is no vaccine to prevent Lassa fever, but symptomatic treatment improves a patient’s chance of survival. The WHO says the antiviral drug Ribavirin has been shown to be an effective treatment if given early on, in the course of the illness.
How Can Lassa fever be prevented?
There are a number of prevention measures that people living in or visiting areas where Lassa fever is endemic can take to protect themselves.
This includes: practicing good hygiene measures, such as regularly washing hands, and cleaning and cooking food thoroughly, and controlling local rodent populations.
During an outbreak, it is important to avoid contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of sick people, especially those exhibiting symptoms of Lassa fever.
Consumable food material should be processed in a clean and neat environment, food such as dried garri should be place in a tightly closed container to prevent rodents which could cause any possible disease.
Within health facilities, staff should always apply standard Infection Prevention and Control measures while dealing with Lassa fever patient.
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