LASSA FEVER

Lassa fever is a serious hemorrhagic sickness generated by the Lassa virus, which is a part of the arenavirus group. People are commonly infected with the Lassa virus after eating, touching foods or home objects that have been contaminated with the urine or feces of sick Mastomys rats. In portions of West Africa, the illness is prevalent in the rat population.

Lassa fever is infectious in Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, although it is also thought to occur in other West African nations. In the lack of sufficient infection-control procedures, individual infections and lab spread can happen, primarily in healthcare environments.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms usually present six to twenty-one days following infection. Despite the fact that there may be a lack of energy, headache, and a slight temperature, an approximated 80% of illnesses do not create major symptoms.

In the remaining 20% of cases, Lassa fever becomes dangerous. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • high or low blood pressure
  • breathing problems
  • coughing
  • enlarged bronchial tubes
  • enlarged bronchial tubes tremors
  • vomiting and diarrhea with blood
  • swallowing problems
  • hepatitis
  • chest, back, and abdominal discomfort
  • permanent hearing damage
  • irregular heartbeats
  • encephalitis
  • shocks

DIAGNOSIS

Lassa fever has a wide range of symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. Aside from, physical exam, medical assessment, and evaluation of symptoms, the following tests should be performed: 

  • liver testing
  • Urine
  • serologic testing
  • CBC

The PCR testing is the quickest, although showing Lassa antibodies or a 4-fold increase in IgG antibody levels using an intermediate fluorescent antibody approach is equally diagnostic.

Even though the virus may be cultivated in cell culture, it is rarely done on a regular basis. 

If lung development is indicated, chest x-rays may reveal basilar pulmonary edema and pericardial effusion.

TREATMENT

Rehydration and symptom management can help to increase your chance. If there is an early diagnosis, this is a reliable source of survival. The antiviral medicine ribavirin has been shown to be effective in battling the Lassa virus when given early, although its mechanism of action is unknown.

However, in the areas most hit by the Lassa virus, ribavirin is scarce. Ribavirin is also potentially toxic and teratogenic, meaning it can cause mutations. As a result, it isn’t an ideal solution. Besides, Ribavirin is ineffective in preventing Lassa fever before it develops, and there is presently no vaccine available.

Fortunately, development on vaccination is ongoing, and certain medications are exhibiting promise.

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