Monday, 4th July 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Reasons Why You Need To Take Lassa Fever Seriously.

By Guardian Nigeria
20 January 2016   |   10:17 am
The Ebola case got everyone frightened, gloves were the most sold products in the market. Nigerians made jokes and funny videos about ebola and some people did not believe it was real. A new virus has been discovered in Nigeria, West Africa that can be very dangerous to our health. Lassa virus, a viral pathogen and…

The Ebola case got everyone frightened, gloves were the most sold products in the market. Nigerians made jokes and funny videos about ebola and some people did not believe it was real. A new virus has been discovered in Nigeria, West Africa that can be very dangerous to our health. Lassa virus, a viral pathogen and a member belonging to Arenaviridae virus family, was first discovered in Nigeria in 1969 at Lassa, a town in Borno state and it is a causative organism for a bleeding feverish ailment referred to as Lassa fever or Lassa Hemorrhaging Fever (LHF).

The three states identified as hotspots joined Bauchi, Kano and Niger States, which have recorded a high incidence of the disease. It has spread to other states, including Edo, Nasarawa, Taraba, Rivers, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo States, Imo state and Abuja. “The fact that Nigeria has been declared Ebola free does not mean the NCDC should be relaxed about putting appropriate measures in place to aid the fight against other deadly epidemics like Lassa fever,” said Dr. Femi Adebayo, a medical practitioner who spoke to Ventures Africa.

The Federal Government has confirmed 212 suspected cases of Lassa Fever in 64 Local government areas across 17 states in the country, even as it warned against a conspiracy of silence among the states of the federation. The Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the Emergency National Council on Health meeting with state Commissioners of Health and other stake- holders in the health sector, said the current outbreak was a national embarrassment.

Research shows that Lassa virus is animal-borne and is found in the same family with Ebola virus which causes Ebola Fever Disease (EFD) as well as Marburg virus and they posses similar characteristics especially in their feverish attacks on their victims. The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the “multimammate rat” commonly called Mastomys natalensis which has many breasts and lives in the bush and peri-residential areas.

According to Wikipedia, “Infection in humans typically occurs by exposure to animal excrement through the respiratory tract, making inhalation of tiny particles of infectious material the most significant means of exposure through which infections are contracted through broken skin exposed to infectious material.” Person to person transmission occurs through direct contact with the sick person. Symptoms include nasal bleeding, bleeding through the anus and mouth, respiratory distress, vomiting, facial swelling, and back and abdominal pain.

No vaccine for Lassa fever is currently available for use in humans, and the only available drug, Ribavirin, is only effective if administered within the first six days after the disease onset. However, outbreaks of the disease have been observed in countries such as Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and the Central African Republic.

 

In this article