Multimammate rats responsible for Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, West Africa nations.
If you are already used to rats living in or around your house like room mates, neighbors or co-tenants, you may want to have a rethink and get hostile, because these rodents may be as dangerous as the dreaded Ebola virus itself.
- The incubation period of Lassa fever ranges from 6-21 days.
- It can last between 1-4 weeks.
- Once food or other house hold items are contaminated by urine or feces from rats, the virus can be transmitted to humans.
- it can be transmitted from Person-to-person
- It can also be transmitted via laboratory transmissions, especially in hospitals with poor or inadequate infection prevention and control measures.
- The Lassa virus cannot be transmitted via skin-to-skin or other bodily contact that does not involve exchange of body fluids.
- In severe cases, the virus affects several organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys
- Deafness occurs in 25% of patients who survive the disease
- There is currently no vaccine that protects against Lassa fever.
- According to the WHO, “early supportive care with re-hydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival”.
- Timely isolation of affected patients
- Infection protection and quality control measures
- Effective trail of persons who may have contacted the disease is essential to prevent outbreaks.
- During recovery, transient hair loss and gait disturbance may occur
- If fatal, it can lead to death within 14 days of onset and may be severe late in pregnancy.
- The Lassa virus is commonly transmitted to humans via ingestion or inhalation.
- Direct contact with already infected objects or surfaces
- Exposure to open cuts or sores, can lead to infection.
- Some persons eat these rodents hence infection may occur when they are been caught and prepared.
- Sweeping or other cleaning activities may lead to aerosol or airborne transmission; this may occur when a person inhales contaminated air. The air may be infected with rodent excretions.
- Contact with urine or faeces of infected astomys rats.
- There are reported cases of sexual transmission of Lassa virus
- Direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever.
- Infected medical equipment like reused needles in care facilities may spread the virus.
- Person-to-person transmission may occur after exposure to virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of a Lassa virus-infected individual.
- It can affect all age groups or gender.
- If you live in areas with so much rats
- Health care providers caring for patients without adequate prevention and control practices
- Ensure good personal, environmental and communal hygiene to prevent rodents from invading your homes.
- Avoid storing waste from food or other consumables inside your house.
- Do not keep waste in the open for rodents to prey on.
- Dispose waste far away from your home
- Store waste and food items in closed containers where they cannot eat through
- You may consider keeping cats.
- Avoid contact with blood or body fluids or sick persons especially while caring for sick persons.
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