All The Things You Should Know About The Lassa Fever Virus

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January 14, 2016

In 2014, the Ebola virus broke out in Nigeria but was quickly contained by swift response from the health ministries and organisations in the country.

However, 2016 is seeing the break out of yet another deadly virus that also kills as fast as the Ebola virus. Here are some things that you should know about the virus:

1. In the same deadly nature of viruses, the Lassa virus is a hemorrhagic virus that has lead to the annual death of over 5000 people since it was discovered in Lassa, Borno state in 1969.

In 2016, cases of the virus has been reported across  Kano, Niger, Ondo, Bauchi and recently Abuja. There have been 41 deaths out of the 93 recorded cases.

2. Did you know that the Mastomy rat is the vector of the Lassa virus?

Exposure to urine, blood or faeces of the infected rats is the most common mode of contracting the disease. Please stop eating rats oh, don’t say we didn’t tell you.

3. Like the Ebola virus, it can also be transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids and contact with infected persons.

Having sex with infected persons also poses a high risk of transmission.

4. Because it belongs to a deadly family of viruses called Arenaviridae, there is no known vaccine against the Lassa virus.

Are you afraid yet? Keep calm because an antiviral drug, Ribavirin has shown to be effective in treating the early stages of the virus.

5. Most times, 80% of the patients experience only mild symptoms of the disease.

The symptoms manifest between 6-21 days of contact with the virus. Some of the common symptoms include: Sore throat, slight fever, headache, weakness and fever. Other severe symptoms are bloody diarrhea and vomiting, deafness, bleeding from mouth, nose, gum and eyes, swelling of the face and shock.

6. Time to get to work and get hygiene levels up.

The virus is not the end of the world though. Keeping the environment clean and free of rats is a major key in prevention of the disease. Isolation and careful interaction with infected patients, proper disposal of garbage are also very important.

7. Treatment is free in Nigeria.

Yaay! Early detection is very important. The phone numbers to contact when symptoms are noticed are: 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.
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