Lassa fever is a disease caused by the Lassa virus. It is contracted through contact with the urine or faeces of an infected multi-mammate rat. Its symptoms include vomiting, fever, weakness, headaches, and muscle pains.
The disease was first recorded in Borno State, Nigeria and has been occurring more in West Africa than other parts of the world. Some of the countries include Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Guinea.
On the 8th of August, a resident doctor at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, was infected with Lassa fever and two people were said to have died from the disease. As a result of this incidence, Prof Chris Bode, the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, acknowledged that at least 100 members of the hospital staff who were exposed were under surveillance.
The patients presented very late, making all efforts to save them futile. Their Lassa fever status was suspected and confirmed after conducting a post-mortem examination. The first case was a 39-year-old pregnant woman who had a bleeding disorder after a stillbirth. The second patient died a few days after being admitted to the hospital.
Prof. Bode implored patients and workers at the hospital not to panic. He assured them of essential drugs and resources that would inhibit the spread of the disease.
Currently, three more workers at LUTH were tested positive as 150 workers are being monitored.
It is imperative that everyone put their hands on deck to reduce the chance of another outbreak.