– Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus and it is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta.
– Lassa frequently infects people in West Africa as it results in 300,000 to 500,000 cases annually and causes about 5,000 deaths each year.
– The primary animal host of the Lassa virus is the Natal multimammate mouse, an animal mostly found in sub Saharan Africa.
– After an incubation period of six to 21 days, an acute illness with multiorgan involvement develops as it affects several organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.
– Nonspecific symptoms include fever, facial swelling, and muscle fatigue, as well as conjunctivitis and mucosal bleeding.
– Lassa virus is zoonotic, that is, it is transmitted from animals, in that it spreads to humans from rodents, specifically multimammate rats.
– Infection in humans typically occurs by exposure to animal excrement through the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts.
– Transmission from person to person has also been established, presenting a disease risk for healthcare workers.
– Ensure to keep rodents out of homes and food supplies, as well as maintaining effective personal hygiene. Store grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home and maintaining clean households
– All persons suspected of Lassa fever infection should be admitted to isolation facilities and their body fluids and excreta properly disposed of.
– The overall mortality rate is estimated to be 1%, but during epidemics, mortality can climb as high as 50%.
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