Lassa Fever has been in existence since 1969. It is a viral disease that attacks the liver, spleen, kidney and the nervous system, causing them to bleed. Thus, it can also be called Haemorrhagic fever.
According to Wikipedia, it was first discovered in 1969, town of Lassa, Borno State, at the Yedseram river valley, at the south end of lake Chad.
It is an infection that is endemic in West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and even Central African Republic and D.R. Congo. 300,000 – 500,000 cases reported annually, with an estimated 5,000 deaths.
Symptoms include: sore throat, retrosternal pain (pain behind chest wall), fever, cough, back pain, abdominal pain, vormiting, diarrhoea, conjuctivitis, proteinuria (protien in urine), facial swelling, mucosal bleeding, bleeding in nose, mouth, vagina or gastrointestinal tract and low blood pressure.
The virus lives in rats and infects humans, through contact with these animals’ faeces or urine.
Awareness concerning the disease is increasing, people are being advised to avoid rats and keep them away from where foods and water are being stored. However, infected humans can also transmit the disease through touch, breath and drinking the same water.
40 people have so far being confirmed dead in the past six weeks, due to the outbreak of Lassa Fever. With 397 cases have been reported in 12 states so far. Lagos, Delta, Anambra, Ondo, Edo, Nassarawa, Plateau, Ebonyi, Taraba, Rivers, Gombe and Yobe States, being the affected states.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammed Ali pate told a story about a 28 year old youth corper who was said to have completed her three weeks orientation in Rivers State, and returned to Ebonyi State, there she contracted the disease on Jan 1 and died two days later. This shows the effectiveness of the virus.
Though the government has said the treatment of the disease is free, it is also advisable to control rodent movements at unsanitaised environments.