It’s been four weeks since the Lassa fever outbreak occurred again and its gradually spreading. 9 states have been recorded with the epidemic attack with over 159 suspected cases.
Here are some few facts you should know about Lassa fever;
- Lassa fever is one of the hemorrhagic fever viruses like Ebola virus, Marburg virus, and others.
- Unlike Ebola virus, Lassa fever is not as contagious person to person, nor as deadly.
- Lassa virus is typically transmitted by the urine or feces of Mastomys rats to humans.
- Lassa fever occurs primarily in West Africa in areas where these rodents live.
- Lassa fever outbreaks occur every year. The number of people infected peaks between December and June.
Is Lassa fever contagious? If so, what is the contagious period for Lassa fever?
- Person-to-person spread is possible.
- It can rarely occur upon direct contact with saliva, blood, and bodily fluids and mucous membrane or sexual contact.
- Casual contact of intact skin with intact skin does not transmit the virus.
It is not clear when infected humans are contagious or for how long they are contagious for. The presence of virus in the blood is known to peak four to nine days after symptoms begin.
Preventive measures include; basic hand washing or alcohol-based sanitizing between patients. Putting foods away in rodent-proof containers and proper cleaning of home. Avoid newspapers used in wrapping edibles such as Suya, Akara. Avoid person-to-person contact, with infected persons. Do not touch rats whether dead or alive with bare hands. Do not dry foods in open places or on the floor where accessibility to rats are easy. Also, safe injection practices, safe laboratory handling, and safe mortuary procedures are also important.