Lassa Fever: Meaning, Transmission, Symptoms, Prevention And Control

Table Of Contents

1. Definition OF Lassa Fever
2. Transmission
3. Endemic Areas Of Lassa Fever
4. Symptoms
5. Treatment
6. Prevention And Control

Lassa Fever

Definition: Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhage illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa. The virus causing lassa fever disease was identified in 1969. Lassa fever occurs in all age groups of both sexes.

Transmission

1. It is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items.
Contaminated with rodent urine or faeces by Mostomy rats.

2. There is also person-to-person infection, particularly in community and hospital lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures.

3. There can also be laboratory transmission.

4. Travelers from endemic areas export the disease to other countries.

Endemic Areas Of Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. All in the West African sub-region.

Symptoms

Observable symptoms among others include:

1. General Weakness

2. Headache

3. Sore throat

4. Muscle pain

5. Chest pain

6. Nausea

7. Vomiting

8. Diarrhoea

9. Cough

10. Abdominal pain

11. Severe facial swelling

12. Bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina or gastro intestinal tract.

13. Increase in blood pressure

14. Coma Deafness

15. Death usually occur within 14 days of onset in fatal cases.

Treatment

All cases of Lassa fever should be reported to health care setting where the virus can be diagnosed. Medical experts are better equipped to the patient of lassa fever more than any other group or facility. There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.

Prevention And Control

Prevention of Lassa fever heavily rests on promoting best community hygiene to stop rodent from invading homes of human beings.
Sound measures among others include:

1. Strong grains and other food items in rodent-proof containers.

2. Disposing garbage far from the homes.

3. Maintaining clean household.

4. Keeping cats that are unfriendly with rat in or homes.

5. Family members should be careful to avoid contact with blood, urine, faeces or body fluids of mastomy rats which are in abundance in endemic areas.

6. In health care facilities, health workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Lassa fever apply extra infection control measures to prevent contact with the patients’ blood and body fluid, contaminated surfaces, materials such as clothing of sufferers.

7. Laboratory workers at the risk samples should be trained staff.

8. Bush burning should be stopped in order to stop rodents from invading the living homes.

9. Enlightenment campaign through the radio, television, newspapers, traditional and Grassroots- based organisations should inform and educate the people in these endemic areas on the basic approaches for the cause, prevention, control and handling of cases of lassa fever.

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