Sunday, January 24, 2021



7 things you need to know about Lassa Fever

7 things you need to know about Lassa Fever
January 12
20:05 2016

At least 40 Nigerians have lost their lives to the current outbreak of Lassa Fever across 10 states of the federation, but the ministry of health continues with efforts to keep the figures that low while eliminating the virus.


Isaac Adewole, minister of health, had said at a press conference on Tuesday, that “the good news is that there have been no new confirmed cases or deaths in the last 72 hours. This is a reflection of our coordinated response and advocacy to all states.”

To keep Nigerian safe, here are seven things you need to know about the viral disease and how to contain it.


Information is power to conquer, not power to intimidate. This is to arm with you with necessary information to combat the disease and not to scare you.


Ebola and Lassa have so many things in common including, mode of transmission, symptoms, and origin. While Ebola was named after a River in Congo in 1976, Lassa is named after a village in Borno state, where the disease broke out in 1969, killing two missionary nurses.

Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease, meaning that humans become infected from contact with infected animals, which are mainly rats.

Like Ebola, Lassa is deadly, and is estimated to kill 5,000 people in West Africa, every year.



The first case of the current outbreak was reported from Bauchi in November, 2015. This was followed by cases reported by Kano State.

According to the minister of health, the States affected include Bauchi, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo States.


Current Lassa outbreak started in Bauchi in Nov 2015

The total number so far reported is 93 and 41 deaths, with a mortality rate of 44 percent.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease can be transmitted via sexual intercourse with infected persons, with such cases reported in the past.


However, it is usually contracted from exposure to urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. It may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of an infected person.

Person-to-person transmission occurs in both community and health-care settings, where the virus may be spread by contaminated medical equipment, such as re-used needles.

Lassa fever occurs in all age groups and both sexes. Persons at greatest risk are those living in rural areas where Mastomys are usually found, especially in communities with poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.

Lassa Fever vector rat

Multi-breasted rat known as the Lassa carrier


One of the tricky issues with this disease is that it is largely asymptomatic, meaning a patient may be a carrier of a disease or infection but experience no symptoms at all.


The good news, however is that, for most asymptomatic cases, the disease may resolve itself and “die a natural death” or eventually show up symptoms which must be combated immediately.

According to Centre for Disease Control (CDC), signs and symptoms of Lassa Fever typically occur one to three weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. For the majority of Lassa fever virus infections (approximately 80%), symptoms are mild and are undiagnosed. Mild symptoms include slight fever, general malaise and weakness, and headache.

In 20 percent of infected individuals, however, disease may progress to more serious symptoms, including hemorrhaging (excessive bleeding in gums, eyes, or nose, as examples), respiratory distress, repeated vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen, and shock.

Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis. Death may occur within two weeks after symptom onset due to multi-organ failure.



Lassa, like many other diseases bedevilling the world today, has no cure. However, ribavirin, an antiviral drug, has been used with commendable success in Lassa fever patients.

It has been shown to be most effective when given early in the course of the illness, but patients also receive supportive care consisting of maintenance of appropriate fluid and electrolyte balance, oxygenation and blood pressure, as well as treatment of any other complicating infections.


Prevention of Lassa fever is possible. That is basically built around promoting good “community hygiene” to bar rats from entering homes.

Grains and other foodstuffs should be stored in rodent-proof containers, while disposing garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households.

A large number of Nigerians do not love keeping cats, but the WHO prescribes that keeping cats can help keep Lassa fever away, by keeping rats away altogether.

Family members should always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons.


Ribavirin is relatively cheap, but said to be expensive for those really affected by the outbreak, hence, Isaac Adewole, the minister of health, has said “all health facilities in the country are hereby directed to emphasize routine infection prevention and control measures, and ensure that all patients are treated free”.

If any of the symptoms highlighted above are seen, Nigerians are advised to immediately contact the state epidemiologist in the state ministry of health or call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Federal Ministry of Health using the following numbers: 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.

Remember, treatment is free!



  1. NaHil
    NaHil January 14, 13:31

    This is a good information….may God help us all

    Reply to this comment
  2. Queenzy
    Queenzy January 14, 22:32

    God will definitely deliver us from this babaric epidemic disease. it will be eradicated in d world jst d way ebola was.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Debby
    Debby January 15, 03:20

    I surprisingly saw a long mouthed and smelly kind of rat in my house and before today my younger brother with me had cough and cattarh and my little son also had cattarh, does it mean we are infected. We just killed the rat at about 2:30 am of 15th jan. 2016, I can’t wait for day break to take the whole family to the hospital

    Reply to this comment
    • chai
      chai January 16, 08:46

      eya ure not going to die be dat. sorry dnt be afraid. u wil live 2 take cia of ur fmly

      Reply to this comment
    • aoifex
      aoifex March 09, 00:42

      pls sir,I WS scratches by a rat on my leg and I don’t knw if ave b infected by rate disease or nt.pls how can I know I WS not infected

      Reply to this comment
  4. Sainthoodboy
    Sainthoodboy January 15, 18:16

    May God have mercy on us all…buh rats aint new creations on earth naw

    Reply to this comment
  5. stallone
    stallone January 17, 14:41

    I want to ask if anybody can enlight me on this,I enter my kitchen and discovered that a particular Rat has eaten the cover of my my groundnut oil Which I met opened and I used it to cook stew,but am afraid to eat the stew now, pls what can I do and the soup is much

    Reply to this comment
  6. Otunba
    Otunba January 17, 18:32

    If you cook it well, you can eat it well. Cook well, eat well. You’re safe. Just prevent further occurrences.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Starbaby
    Starbaby January 18, 17:10

    D sickness of d egyptian are nt for d children of God therefore fear not and take caution.

    Reply to this comment
  8. bello aliyu
    bello aliyu January 18, 23:11

    Oh my God!!! Even today I so rat in my room.

    Reply to this comment
  9. joyous
    joyous January 21, 23:25

    Your comment..can de smell give you sickness?

    Reply to this comment
  10. Eniks
    Eniks January 29, 12:05

    I killed a rat in my bedroom and after killing it, d blood spilled on d side of my bed and I immediately disinfected dat area with dettol. I want to know if dat is good enough or what else I can do to disinfected d affected area. Please help with any reasonable suggestion

    Reply to this comment
  11. young doctor
    young doctor January 29, 21:38

    .even me am having fever and cathar but does not mean i have lassa all we just need to do is to keep our surounding clean avoid living dirty or used plates in our house God who has been keeping his children will keep us,i came into this world and i met rat so therefor rat cannot take me out of dis world

    Reply to this comment
  12. KANDY
    KANDY February 19, 21:52


    Reply to this comment
  13. Agwams
    Agwams February 19, 23:08

    Your comment..We have a Case some week back in our hospital.. the woman letter die.. now two of the personnel involved in her Case fall ill last week.. we lost one of them today, that’s the Nurse. the Dr is still laying down wit no respond to treatment.. from Kaduna, zango kataf local government.. St Louis hospital zonkwa.. please we need ur attention. thanks

    Reply to this comment
  14. david
    david February 20, 08:37

    I was watching my dress so I find rat urin on it so I watch is well and I sun it.2 days lata I iron it and I wear it to work.but am afraid.can I b infected wit dat.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Abdurrazaq
    Abdurrazaq February 22, 05:24

    8days ago i was eating an saw the feces of rat there… I removed it nd continue the food.. Nw am feeling mild headache and a sour taste in my mouth…. Pls help me out, am i with the virus?

    Reply to this comment
  16. finesharon
    finesharon February 24, 23:55

    Please this is d time for we Nigerians to join hands together and fight lassa fever just as we did in Ebola case. God bless Nigeria,

    Reply to this comment
  17. Eluwa catherine c
    Eluwa catherine c March 09, 16:43

    I am very optimistic that God is our protector,if not there’s nothing we can.Go to the market and see what rats are really doing over the food we are buying,may God helpm us

    Reply to this comment
  18. sapiiro
    sapiiro April 26, 12:51

    I was about taking garri and I saw rat feces inside the cup which I have soak the garri but. I have taking a spoon of the garri in my mouth but when I notice I pour out the garri from my mouth and watch my mouth with hot water…..dnt knw if that will help bcus am seriously scared now

    Reply to this comment
  19. luckyboy
    luckyboy May 11, 22:34

    Your comment..if rabbit bites you now, will you be
    infected…… Pls help me am afraid it bite me Pls Pls pls

    Reply to this comment
  20. iyke
    iyke May 31, 15:30

    there is nothing like lasa fever. just believe that nothing will happened to u if u have had contact with rat, pray hard and nothing shall ever happen to u. God said that we shall mash scorpion, and any poisonous thing like Rat and it shall not harm us. Rat bit me 3times last month and am still alive. with your faith u can move mountain.

    Reply to this comment
  21. chumzy
    chumzy July 26, 11:49

    Your comment..I bought a sachet of water nd drink some before i perceive d smell of a dead rat in it.Pls will i be infected?.

    Reply to this comment
  22. jjsteve
    jjsteve February 01, 12:15

    What if a rat urinate on my leg

    Reply to this comment
  23. yecky
    yecky June 25, 00:55

    please what can one do once he/she has lassa fever…is there no permanent treatment for it yet?

    Reply to this comment
  24. Jane
    Jane August 13, 12:51

    I bought biscuit,i normally eat it, one day I came back from work immediate I opened door I saw rat ran out of that biscuit I don’t no how long the rat has being eating the biscuits.dose that mean I have Lassa fever.please advise

    Reply to this comment
  25. TAIWO
    TAIWO September 19, 21:56

    Your comment. If a rat eat some part of food (garri) in lylon and i take away the area in which the rat ate. Those it mean that all the garri is not go again?.

    Reply to this comment

Write a Comment