Lassa fever is a human disease caused by a virus carried by rats. It is a viral hemorrhagic fever. It occur mainly in West Africa which Nigeria is inclusive. Recently, there is a reported outbreak of lassa fever in some States in Nigeria which has
already claimed some lives.
What we should know about this disease
Causative agent: The specie of rat that harbours and transmits the viral disease (Lassa fever) is known as Mastomys natalensis. It is a multi mammate rat because it possess prominent mammary glands. It lives mainly in dirty areas.
Source: Research gate. net
Mode of transmission: It is spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of rats, direct contact with body fluids of rats or infected persons within a community or through nosocomial transmission.
Symptoms: The symptoms of lassa fever usually starts with fever,general body weakness, cough,vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat and rashes. In advanced case, it can progress to body tremors, neurological diseases, encephalitis, hemorrhage, chest pain, and also difficulty in hearing.
Diagnosis: Lassa fever symptoms varies. Diagnosis is based on clinical manifestations, differential laboratory, testing and epidemiological findings which can be done in reference laboratories.
Prevention:The prevention of lassa fever starts from avoiding contact with the causative agent. This can be achieved by practicing good hygiene; we should keep our homes and surroundings clean. We should monitor our homes for this type of rats. Make sure that our food is stored and covered very well. Proper awareness and enlightenment of the disease should also be made.
Treatment: Treatment of the disease is achieved by first treating the symptoms, early supportive care, Rehydration and also report to any health centre as soon any of the symptoms is observed for effective treatment.