CasesMed Research Journal
Lassa fever Dangerous

Lassa fever Dangerous?

Lassa fever is one of the hemorrhagic fever viruses, like Ebola virus, Marburg virus, and others. Like Ebola virus, Lassa fever occurs primarily in West Africa. Unlike Ebola virus, Lassa fever is not as contagious person to person, nor as deadly. Lassa virus is transmitted from rodents to humans.

Lassa fever is an acute viral illness, was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Nigeria. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is zoonotic, or animal-borne. Lassa fever is spread by the multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis). Most effected countries are Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Once a Mastomys rat is infected, it can excrete the virus in its urine, potentially for the rest of its life. This makes the spread of the disease worryingly easy when added to the fact that this species, like other rats, breeds easily and inhabits human homes. Symptoms include: Hemorrhaging, Difficulty breathing, Cough, Swollen airways, Stomachache, Vomiting and diarrhea (both bloody), Difficulty swallowing, Hepatitis, Swollen face, Pain in chest, back and abdomen, Shock, Hearing loss (sometimes permanent), Abnormal heart rhythms, Hypertension or hypotension, Pericarditis (a swelling of the sac that surrounds the heart), Tremors, Encephalitis, Meningitis, Seizures. Ribavirin, an antiviral drug, has been used with success in Lassa fever patients