Facts about Lassa fever


There is an outbreak of Lassa Fever in the Nigeria. Presently, there are reported cases of Lassa Fever outbreak in eight states: Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo states.




Lassa fever or Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus.

  • The virus is named after the town where it was first discovered.
  • Discovered in 1969 in the town of Lassa, Borno State, Nigeria.
  • Endemic in parts of the West African sub-region.
  • Lassa fever is similar to other haemorrhagic fevers including Ebola
  • The host is 'Mastomys natalensis,' a multimammate rat (rat with many breasts).
  • Primary human infection usually occurs from direct exposure to urine or faeces of infected rats.
  • The virus is also transmitted between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
  • Person-to-person transmission occurs at both community levels and health-care settings.
  • Sexual transmission of Lassa virus has also been reported.
  • Lassa fever occurs in all age groups and affects both males and females.
  • More common among those living in rural areas where infected rats are usually found, especially in communities with poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.
  • Signs and symptoms commonly manifest 6 – 21 days after contact with the virus.
  • In 80% of infected cases, symptoms are mild. These symptoms include:

Weakness, Headaches, Slight fever, General malaise, Sore throat, Diarrhea, Redness of the eyes (conjunctivitis).

  • In about 20% of infected cases however, the disease may progress to more serious symptoms that include:

Bleeding from the eyes, gums, or nose; vomiting; respiratory distress; pain in the back, chest and abdomen; swelling of the face; shock; tremors; hearing loss and encephalitis (infection of the brain).


  • An infected person may die within two weeks of initial symptoms because of multi-organ failure.
  • Clinical diagnosis of Lassa fever is often difficult and the disease can only be confirmed through testing in specialized laboratories.
  • Treatment of Lassa fever is by use of an antiviral drug – RIBAVIRIN.
  • Supportive barrier care is also important and includes monitoring blood pressure, adequate fluid intake and symptomatic treatment of complications.
  • Barrier care is highly recommended to prevent spread of the disease.
  • Transmission of the Lassa virus may be prevented by:
  1. Avoiding contact with infected rats - particularly in the geographic areas where outbreaks occur.
  2. Storing food and water in rat-proof containers.
  3. Practicing good environmental and personal hygiene.
  4. Use of protective materials such as face masks, gowns, gloves and goggles
  5. Infection control measures in health facilities such as the sterilization of equipment.
  6. Health education.

Causes Of Depression

Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life. Certain medications. Some drugs, such as Accutane (used to treatacne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk of depression. Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends. Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It's thought that depression is a complex trait that may be inherited across generations, although the genetics of psychiatric disorders are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases such as Huntington's chorea or cystic fibrosis. Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.

Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression. Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness. Reference:


Avoiding Food Traps As your depression begins to improve, the following strategies can help you eat healthier and sidestep food traps: Soothe your senses: “Find other ways to comfort your body besides food, such as taking a warm bath, wrapping yourself in a soft blanket, or sipping hot tea,” Albers suggests.

Tune in to your hunger: When you think you feel hungry, Fain recommends pausing and asking yourself: am I really hungry or am I feeling something else? “You may find that what you're really craving isn't a cookie or a bag of chips, but a heart-to-heart talk with a friend or a loved one,” she says. Eat a varied diet: Nutritional deficiencies can make depression worse. So focus on eating a variety of foods, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Consider meeting with a nutritionist who can create simple, balanced meal plans for you. Boost your energy: Seek activities that give you energy, such as going for a walk, playing with your dog, or listening to music. “When you do something that brightens your outlook and improves your mood, you'll be less likely to overeat and make poor food choices,” Fain says. Reference:

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