Lassa fever is an acute, viral haemorrhagic fever due to infection with the lassa fever virus.
The Lassa virus belongs to the arenaviridae family and is transmitted by infected rats of the specie ‘Mastomys natalensis’ (multimammate rat).
They are chronic asymptomatic carriers of lassa virus and shed the virus in their urine and faeces.
It was first discovered in 1969. The virus is named after Lassa, a village in Borno State, Nigeria.
Incubation period 5 – 21 days.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION
Rodent – Human
- Rat excreta contaminating food
- Direct contact with rats
- Inhalation of contaminated air
- Consuming rats
Human – Human
- Contact with blood or body fluids
- Nosocomial (Hospital transmission)
- Sore throat
- Nausea & vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Body aches, malaise
- Neck/facial swelling
- Difficulty in breathing
- Supportive (administaration of fluids and symptomatic treatment)
- Avoiding contact with rats
- Keep food materials in rat-proof containers
- Keep surroundings clean and free from garbage
- Avoid consumption of rats and food substances contaminated with rat droppings.