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How To Protect Yourself Against Lassa Fever

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Lassa fever is sweeping through Nigeria and causing a state of emergency in various states. Here’s how to best protect yourself against this deadly disease.

Key Facts

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa.

The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.

Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures.

Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.

The overall case-fatality rate is 1%. Observed case-fatality rate among patients hospitalised with severe cases of Lassa fever is 15%.

Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival.

Causes of Lassa fever

The main cause of Lassa virus is a rodent known as the Multimammate Rat of the genus mastomys but it is not sure that which species of mastomys are associated with Lassa fever.

-Avoid direct contact with rats

-If rat eat your grain or other food the virus could transfer to the food.

-It may also spread through person-to-person contact when a person comes into contact with virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of an individual infected with the Lassa virus.

Symptoms/Signs of Lassa fever

Abdominal Pain
Back Pain
Chest Pain
Conjunctivitis
Cough
Diarrhea
Facial Swelling
Fever
Mucosal Bleeding
Proteinuria
Sore Throat
Vomiting

How to diagnose Lassa fever

Lassa virus is diagnosed by doing a laboratory test in a test centre and can be discovered in three ways:

1. Isolating the virus from blood, urine, or throat washings.

2. Demonstrating the presence of immunoglobuline M (IgM) antibody to Lassa virus.

3. Showing a fourfold rise in titer of IgG antibody between acute- and convalescent-phase serums.

How to protect yourself against Lassa fever

Avoid contact between rats and human beings
Isolating infected patients from contact with unprotected persons until the disease has run its course

Block all rat hideouts

Cook all foods thoroughly

Cover all foods and water properly.

If you suspect that rat has eaten any food, discard it

Keep your house and Environment clean

Store foodstuffs in rodent proof containers

Transmission of the Lassa virus from rodent to humans can be prevented by avoiding contact with Mastomys rodents(The rat that causes Lassa fever).

Wearing protective clothing, such as Masks, gloves, gowns, and Glasses

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