In the course of this post I will try to enlighten us more on the virus, the symptoms and how to prevent it.
Lassa fever or Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and first described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria. Similar to the Ebola virus, clinical cases of the disease had been known for over a decade but had not been connected with a viral pathogen.
Lassa fever is endemic in parts of West Africa including the following areas:
- Sierra Leone
The symptoms range from fever, general weakness to malaise (a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify). After a few days, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and abdominal pain may follow.
In severe cases facial swelling, bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina and low blood pressure may develop. Shock, seizures, tremor, disorientation, and coma may be seen in the later stages.
Deafness occurs in 25% of patients who survive the disease. In half of these cases, hearing returns partially after 1-3 months. Transient hair loss and gait disturbance may occur during recovery.
Death usually occurs within 14 days of onset in fatal cases.
Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus from exposure to urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
Person-to-person transmission occurs where the virus may be spread by contaminated medical equipment, such as re-used needles. Sexual transmission of Lassa virus has also been reported.
Lassa fever occurs in all age groups and both sexes. Persons at greatest risk are those living in rural areas where Mastomys are usually found, especially in communities with poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.
Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats.
As students, it is advisable that we keep our food stuffs away from these rodents, keep them in containers where they can't penetrate, keep good hygiene, clean your environments and do what you can to reduce the rats around you as we know we cant completely keep them away.
Don't take things for granted, you still have a long life to live, you're too smart to get killed by a rat don't you think?