Lassa Fever Discovered In Sierra-Leone.


Lassa fever is an acute viral disease that incubates within 6-21 days after a person is infected by it. It has become a viral illness that occurs in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa like Sierra-leone, Nigeria, and Guinea. Lassa is a virus hosted by an animal called “Rat,”. This is a domestic animal in most sub-Sahara African countries, and when this virus infects a man, it is said that he has Lassa fever. This illness was named after a town in Nigeria where it was first discovered after two missionaries died in 1969. People become infected by this Virus when they consume foods/drinks, contaminated by the excreta, urine, or the saliva of these rats. An infection can also occur when one comes in contact with an infected Lassa-fever patient’s saliva, urine, feces, throat secretions, vomits, body fluid. Also, by having direct contact with blood as well as using a contaminated bed and items of clothing. It is worthy to note that Lassa fever is a disease that can not be gotten through handshakes, hugging, or sharing a seat.

Symptoms Of Lassa Fever

Lassa-fever an endemic disease that has its symptoms, just like the Ebola virus and other diseases. Although many do not have symptoms, however, it has been observed that the symptoms of Lassa fever include;

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Chest and Muscle pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • General body weakness
  • facial swelling
  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth, vaginal, and gastrointestinal tracts in severe cases, this leads to the death of the patient.

Infection Prevention and Control

There are precautionary measures that you can carry out as an individual to enhance your well being and safety as a way of preventing you from being infected by the Lassa virus. These precautionary activities are also applicable to health centers. This is because there are infections associated with healthcare centers. This infection is caused by pathogens acquired in health centers and can become manifest when a patient stays over 48hours in the hospital. So IPC is necessary to prevent and control the transmission of communicable diseases from those receiving care in these health centers. The control measures include;

  • Regular washing of hands.
  • Storing food in containers that hs lids.
  • Cook your food thoroughly.
  • Keep your home tidy such that it would discourage rats.
  • You can keep a cat as a pet.


Currently, there are no vaccines that prevent people from Lassa fever. However, Ribavirin is an antiviral drug that has proven to be effective if administered early to an infected patient. However, people who are infected with Lassa fever are advised to drink a lot of water, avoid contact with people, seek health advice immediately. Lassa fever is a disease that can kill, but when you get medical treatment early, it increases your chances of survival.


WHO is working tirelessly and supporting the Ministry of Health in Sierra-leone to control the outbreak by;

  • Identifying those infected and Isolating them for treatment; Isolation is necessary so that the spread of the virus can be contained.
  • Training health workers who can help diagnose and administer treatment to patients.
  • Supporting public health campaigns in the country.
  • Procuring medical supplies and equipment, although currently there are no vaccines that prevent people against Lassa fever.


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