Lassa fever is a disease from the infectious agent, Lassa
virus. This fever is endemic in certain country such as
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and also Nigeria. Congo, Mali
and Senegal reported to have serological human infection
as well.
How is the virus spread?
In West Africa, the reservoir for the virus is the wild rodents.
Wild rodents, including the mouse is carrying the virus if the
rodent is infected. The urine, stool, blood, saliva and the
mucus of the infected rodent is full of viruses. Human can
get the virus if accidentally touched, consumed, and any sort
of direct contact of the infected rodent excreta as listed
above. Virus spread from human to human also possible by
sexual contact, air droplets, and direct contact with
pharyngeal secretions or urine of the infected person.
*The Symptoms
You should seek your doctor immediately if you are
experiencing these symptoms, especially when there is an
outbreak of Lassa fever in your place:
-sore throat,
-chest pain
-abdominal pain
You may get these symptoms after 6 to 21 days of
exposure to the Lassa virus.
*How serious is this disease?
This is an acute viral disease. It is also spreading faster if
there is no proper preventive action to be taken. If you have
a low immunity and you have another illness, this Lassa
fever will make your health condition even worst. You will
have the risk of a severe multi system disease.
This is a very dangerous disease for the pregnant women
because they have the lowest immunity at this stage. The
chance to have fatal loss is about 80%. Without an early
check up or identification, a person who suffer by this
disease will get a lot of health problems such as
hypotension, haemorrhage, seizures and edema of the face.
People can die if the infection is severe and did not receive
the proper treatment on time. This is a disease that
susceptible to all ages. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine
for this disease at this moment.
*Prevention That You Can Do At Home
Prevention is better than cure. It is highly recommended for
every people to know how important to have the knowledge
to prevent any diseases from striking the family, friends and
relatives. Lassa fever is a viral illness that spread by wild
rodents or any infected rodent. The main steps that you
have to take are:
1) Clean your house inside and out:
Rodents will come to your house for food and water. If your
house have improper food waste disposal or you don’t
covered your garbage bin correctly, the mouse or any
rodents will be the pest around your house and spreading
the virus at the same time.
Clean your house every day inside and out to avoid any
traces of infected rodents. Burn the garbage if you can or
disposed it in the correct and safe procedure. Never let any
food waste scatter around the house because it can attract
the rodents. Make sure your house is always clean and
clutter free to ensure you are not providing the rodents the
food and place to live in your house.
2) Never clean the rodents dropping or stool, urine or dead
body with bare hands:
While you are cleaning, you might found this around your
house. For your safety and to avoid the virus transmission,
you have to always wear personal protection equipment
while you are cleaning your house from rodents dropping,
urine, secretions and the decaying dead body of the animal.
Wear a plastic hand glove and top it with a latex glove for
extra protection while you are cleaning your house. Wear a
single use plastic apron to protect your clothes and body.
Wear a high knee boot to protect your feet from stepping on
the infected dead body of the animal and its body secretion.
Use the antibacterial detergent or antibacterial soap to clean
your house floor and surfaces.
3) Personal Hygiene:
Never touch your kids or family at home before you clean
your hands and change your clothes after cleaning your
house or you just back from work outside. Never recycle
your plastic hand gloves and single use apron after cleaning
the house with it. Dispose it safely in a plastic bag or burn
it. Ask your children to take their bath after back from
school. Never touch a baby or a pregnant woman if you are
not cleaning your hands or take a bath with soap after back
from work or cleaning the house area.
Make sure you wash your hand with soap and water before
eating as well.

Fatoki Akinwumi's photo.