What Is Lassa Fever?

Lassa Fever

Lassa Fever is a type of Viral Haermorrhagic Fever (VHF), caused by the Lassa Fever Virus.

Transmission occurs throughout the year but the disease is usually more common during the dry season i.e. November through May. This is as a result of weather factors. It is both preventable & curable if detected early.

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How Do I Contact Lassa Fever?

It is usually transmitted to humans by the common house rat, who acts as the host, but person to person transfer also occurs.

A person can contact the Fever through:

1. Contact with secretions of infected house rats like; urine, faces, saliva or blood, hence the need to always maintain a proper environmental sanitation to prevent entry of rats into our homes. Helpful Practices are:

Block all holes in your walls to prevent rats from entry and living. Cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Store edible foodstuff that rats love to go to, like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize etc. in containers with tight covers so that rats cant get into them. Also, avoid drying food stuff outside on the floor. Eliminate rats by setting rat traps.

2. Contacts with the body fluid of an infected person such as blood, urine, faeces, vomitus, etc. hence, we should always practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water/or use of hand sanitisers.

See also: What is Covid-19

How do I Know If i Have Lassa fever?

A person with the fever usually have symptoms like that of malaria. You might experience fever, sore throat (like scratch on your throat), headache, general body weakness, diarrhoea (loose stool), muscle pains, cough, nausea (feeling like vomiting), vomiting, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increases the chances of survival.

Is There A Vaccine For Lassa Fever?

No, currently there is no Vaccine for the Fever.

Whats the Treatment For Lassa Fever?

The only available treatment for the Fever is the use of Ribavirin. Lassa fever Treatment is very expensive but with the help of the NCDC and the Ministry of Health, in the provision of Ribavirin, treatment of cases are progressing.

The presence of rodents in our environment makes it impossible to eliminate #Lassafever in #Nigeria with the tools we have now.

What Do I Do If I Suspect Lassa Fever?

You should immediately go to the nearest hospital or health center if you notice any of the above symptoms. It is very important that you avoid self-medication.

According to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Any febrile illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics should raise an index of suspicion for Lassa fever!

Please if your healthcare worker suspects Lassa fever, advise him or her to contact your local government disease surveillance and notification officer to access care in Nigeria.

Contact:

NCDC Toll-Free Number: 0800-970000-10

SMS: 08099555577

Whatsapp: 07087110839

Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov

Note: Lassa fever can be prevented & treated

Good sanitation & personal hygiene can reduce the risk of spread

Reporting early to a health facility increases chances of survival

Any fever can be Lassa fever

Authors

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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