Epidemics

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains. Less commonly there may be bleeding from the mouth or gastrointestinal tract. The risk of death once infected is about one percent and frequently occurs within two weeks of the onset of symptoms. Among those who survive about a quarter have hearing loss, which improves over time in about half.

Kissidougou is where an outbreak of Ebola began

Above all; the disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate rat. Spread can then occur via direct contact between people. Diagnosis based on symptoms is difficult. Confirmation is by laboratory testing to detect the virus’s RNA, antibodies for the virus, or the virus itself in cell culture. Other conditions that may present similarly include Ebola, malaria, typhoid fever, and yellow fever. The Lassa virus is a member of the Arenaviridae family of viruses.
Medical services in Guinea are on alert after a man died from Lassa fever; health officials said on Thursday, with some 80 people; monitored for the deadly disease. Lassa fever happens by a haemorrhagic virus which belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola. The virus was found in a 35-year-old man from the southwestern town of Kissidougou. He died on January 29 in Mamou, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) away, according to officials. Kissidougou is where an outbreak of Ebola began in December 2013; leading to thousands of deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“An isolated case or an epidemic”

“We have set to work to see; if there are any hidden cases; and to trace all the contacts;” of the deceased man; said Sakoba Keita from the National Health Security Agency (ANSS). Keita said it was not yet clear whether this was “an isolated case or an epidemic“. Around 80 people—30 in Kissidougou and 50 in Mamou—are under monitor; but none have so far shown any symptoms of the disease; Keita said in conclusion. So, Lassa takes its name from the town of that name in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.

However, the virus spreads through contact with food or household items contaminated with rats’ urine or faeces; or after coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It has the prevention method by enhanced hygiene and avoidance of all contact with rats. Nearly four in five peple who become infected with the virus do not have symptoms of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) says on its website. Finally, a Lassa outbreak in Nigeria last year left 171 dead, and a resurgence of the disease there last month killed 16, according to official figures.