LASSA FEVER IN NIGERIA: FACTS OR FARCE

mastomys species. causative agent of lassa fever

The death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria has risen to 110 since the recent outbreak late last year. Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria just like malaria. The virus affects both men and women in all age group. Individuals at risk include those living in rural and peri-urban areas where there are crowded living condition and poor sanitation. Health care workers are also susceptible to be infected with the virus if proper barrier infection and nursing control are not kept.


Lassa fever is an acute haemorrhagic disease caused by a single stranded RNA virus which is in Arenaviridae family. Being a zoonotic disease, rat (of the genius mastomys) is known as the animal reservoir of the virus. It can be gotten through direct or indirect contact with the infected rat excreta or via body fluid from infected person to uninfected person. Lassa fever is asymptomatic in many cases (about 80% cases) but in others can lead to chest pain, headache, diarrhoea, and sometimes can lead to coma and disorientation in later stages. It has an incubation period of 6 to 21 days.

What are the risk factors and how can it be prevented?/articles

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