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Lassa fever: Prevention is in Your Hands

Lassa fever is a disease from the infectious agent, Lassa virus. This fever is endemic in certain country such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and also Nigeria. Congo, Mali and Senegal reported to have serological human infection as well.

Lassa fever
Lassa Fever Investigation (Dr. Pierre Rollin dissecting rat specimens) by Mike Blyth (MikeBlyth)

How the virus spread?

In West Africa, the reservoir for the virus is the wild rodents. Wild rodents, including the mouse is carrying the virus if the rodent is infected. The urine, stool, blood, saliva and the mucus of the infected rodent is full of viruses. Human can get the virus if accidentally touched, consumed, and any sort of direct contact of the infected rodent excreta as listed above. Virus spread from human to human also possible by sexual contact, air droplets, and direct contact with pharyngeal secretions or urine of the infected person.

The Symptoms

You should seek your doctor immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms, especially when there is an outbreak of Lassa fever in your place:

  • -malaise
  • -fever
  • -headache
  • -myalgia
  • -sore throat,
  • -cough
  • -nausea
  • -vomiting
  • -diarrhoea
  • -chest pain
  • -abdominal pain

You may get these symptoms after 6 to 21 days of exposure to the Lassa virus.

How serious is this disease?

[tweet_box design=”box_11″ float=”none”]#Lassafever is known to be endemic – #WHO[/tweet_box]

This is an acute viral disease. It is also spreading faster if there is no proper preventive action to be taken. If you have a low immunity and you have another illness, this Lassa fever will make your health condition even worst. You will have the risk of a severe multisystem disease.

This is a very dangerous disease for the pregnant women because they have the lowest immunity at this stage. The chance to have fatal loss is about 80%. Without an early check up or identification, a person who suffer by this disease will get a lot of health problems such as hypotension, haemorrhage, seizures and edema of the face. People can die if the infection is severe and did not receive the proper treatment on time. This is a disease that susceptible to all ages. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this disease at this moment.

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Prevention That You Can Do At Home

Lassa fever

Prevention is better than cure. It is highly recommended for every people to know how important to have the knowledge to prevent any diseases from striking the family, friends and relatives. Lassa fever is a viral illness that spread by wild rodents or any infected rodent. The main steps that you have to take are:

1) Clean your house inside and out:

Rodents will come to your house for food and water. If your house have improper food waste disposal or you don’t covered your garbage bin correctly, the mouse or any rodents will be the pest around your house and spreading the virus at the same time.

Clean your house every day inside and out to avoid any traces of infected rodents. Burn the garbage if you can or disposed it in the correct and safe procedure. Never let any food waste scatter around the house because it can attract the rodents. Make sure your house is always clean and clutter free to ensure you are not providing the rodents the food and place to live in your house.

2) Never clean the rodents dropping or stool, urine or dead body with bare hands:

While you are cleaning, you might found this around your house. For your safety and to avoid the virus transmission, you have to always wear personal protection equipment while you are cleaning your house from rodents dropping, urine, secretions and the decaying dead body of the animal. Wear a plastic hand glove and top it with a latex glove for extra protection while you are cleaning your house. Wear a single use plastic apron to protect your clothes and body. Wear a high knee boot to protect your feet from stepping on the infected dead body of the animal and its body secretion. Use the antibacterial detergent or antibacterial soap to clean your house floor and surfaces.

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3) Personal Hygiene:

Never touch your kids or family at home before you clean your hands and change your clothes after cleaning your house or you just back from work outside. Never recycle your plastic hand gloves and single use apron after cleaning the house with it. Dispose it safely in a plastic bag or burn it. Ask your children to take their bath after back from school. Never touch a baby or a pregnant woman if you are not cleaning your hands or take a bath with soap after back from work or cleaning the house area. Make sure you wash your hand with soap and water before eating as well.

4) Avoid Visiting Crowded Place during Lassa fever Outbreak

The same thing also has to be taken action by any crowded place such as the shopping malls, schools, hospitals, and wet market. The premises have to be clean regularly for the clients and customers. Virus is easily spreading in a crowded place because the chances to inhale the droplets or body contact with the infected person is high. Avoid visiting any crowded place during the outbreak if possible. If you have to buy some food supplies or any necessities, make sure you wear your face mask and avoid body contact. Get yourself cleaned or take a shower immediately when you arrived home. Do not touch your family members before you get yourself properly clean with water and soap, and get your clothes changed too.

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5) Wash Your Clothes Properly

After cleaning, back from work or back from the school, before taking the shower, keep all of the used clothes in one place before washing it. Wash it with a lot of water and antibacterial detergent. Dry it well and avoid it from any contamination from rodents dropping or urine before wearing.

6) Use Clean Water

For cleaning and cooking purposes, please use the clean water only. If you keep the water in a gallon or water tank, please make sure that it is closed to avoid any outside contamination during outbreak. Never let your children to playing in the mud, puddle or any contaminated water.

7) Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You have to maintain a healthy body and a strong immunity to avoid any virus infection. Immune booster foods are easy to find in food. Have this type of food every day especially for the kids, pregnant woman and the veterans to increase their immunity.

References:

  1. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs179/en/
  2. http://www.punchng.com/lassa-fever-death-toll-hits-40-86-cases-reported-fg/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassa_fever
  4. http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/l/lassa_fever/intro.htmhttp://www.rightdiagnosis.com/l/lassa_fever/intro.htm

Kingsley Felix

Web Developer, Webmaster & Editor here on Healthable and other Krafty Sprouts Properties.

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