Obstetric fistula

TODAY NIGERIA JOINS THE WORLD IN THE FIGHT AGAINST OBSTETRIC FISTULA

Today marks the 7th annual International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. According to the United Nations Population Fund, about 100,000 women develop obstetric fistula every year. In Nigeria, almost 20,000 women develop obstetric fistula annually. However more than 400,000 women are currently living with this condition in the country as a result of poor access to hospitals and proper medical care. The United Nations Population Fund has supported free surgical repairs for over 6,000 women and girls living with fistula in Nigeria.

Obstetric Fistula is an abnormal opening between a woman’s genital tract and her urinary tract or rectum. Obstetric fistula is one of the major causes of maternal mortality especially amongst women in Asia, the Arab region and Sub-Sahara Africa. The opening can be as a result of obstructed labor. During obstructed labor the tissues between the woman’s vagina and her pubic bone are damaged by continuous pressure from the infant’s neck trapped in the birth canal. The damaged tissue later falls off leaving a hole between the vagina and urinary tract or rectum. Faeces and/or urine often leaks from this hole. Obstetric fistula may also be caused by cancer, radiation therapy or surgical complications.

Obstetric fistula can be treated mainly through surgical procedures. The success rate of surgically treating obstetric fistula is very high, above 90% in most cases. However in Nigeria over a large number of women are currently living with this condition. Women that suffer from obstetric fistula are often socially ostracized.

Obstetric fistula can be prevented by;

  • Delaying age of first pregnancy
  • Cessation of harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation
  • Timely access to obstetric care.

No woman or girl should have to live with obstetric fistula.

At EL-RAPHA HOSPITALS AND DIAGNOSTICS we provide professional and affordable treatment for obstetric fistula. We are committed to the welfare of every woman an girl child and we join the rest of the world today in the fight against this “silent epidemic”.

IN VITRO FERTILIZATION A SOLUTION TO INFERTILITY?

In 1984, Dr. Oladapo Ashiru and his team successfully delivered the first baby via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Nigeria. This was six years after the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the first baby in the world conceived via IVF. Over six million babies has been conceived using IVF. It is often looked upon as a last resort, when other forms of ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques), has failed.

WHAT IS IN VITRO FERTILIZATION?

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF as it is more commonly referred to is a form of assisted reproductive technique. IVF helps with fertilization, embryo development and implantation. In IVF, fertilization takes place outside the body. The ovum (egg) is extracted from the female. A sperm sample is retrieved from the male also. The egg and the sperm sample is then manually combined in a laboratory. Once fertilization takes place and the embryo has developed to a certain stage, the embryo is the transferred to the uterus and in most cases normal development takes place and the female gives birth to a perfectly healthy baby.

IVF may be considered if either partners have been diagnosed with;

  • This is when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places in the body outside the womb
  • Low sperm count
  • Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
  • Inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus
  • Poor egg quality
  • An unexplained fertility problem etc.

In Nigeria tubal factors and low sperm count are the leading causes of infertility. One in four Nigerian couples experience infertility.

In earlier times children conceived through the IVF procedure were often referred to as “test tube babies”. One of the myths was that babies born via this procedure were often not “normal”. This is completely false.

 

IVF Success Rate

While the success rate with IVF is a little below 50%, this reduces as the female ages, the babies delivered are healthy and normal. To increase the chances of pregnancy, Doctors transfer 3-10 eggs back into the uterus depending on the age of the female, quality of the eggs etc.  Advances in technology has greatly improved the chances of IVF procedures making it safer and an option for couples finding it difficult to conceive.

Consult us at EL RAPHA HOSPITALS AND DIAGNOSTICS  which is on of the best fertility hospital in Nigeria today as we have a medical team of professionals that will offer guidance, support and professionalism should you opt for an IVF procedure.

 

To contact a patient or for patient room information, call: (+234) 909 888 9013, 90998889015

General: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Family members with an ID badge have 24-hour access to the hospital.

Address

  • El-Rapha Hospitals and Diagnostics Plot #930 Salihu Iliyasu Street, Life Camp, Abuja, Nigeria.

WHY DO YOU NEED A LAPAROSCOPY?

A laparoscopy is a form of minimally invasive surgery. It gives a surgeon access to the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without the surgeon having to make large incisions in the abdomen. In gynecology a laparoscopy is used to diagnose and treat a range of diseases.

During a laparoscopy, a long thin tube with a high intensity light and a high resolution camera at the front called a LAPAROSCOPE is inserted in the abdomen. The laparoscope is inserted through an incision the abdomen. This incision is usually approximately 0.5 inches. The camera and high intensity light at the front of the laparoscope allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and the pelvis.

WHY SHOULD YOU GO FOR A LAPAROSCOPY?

A laparoscopy can help to;

  • Diagnose and treat endometriosis, chronic pelvic pains and pelvic inflammatory diseases.
  • Diagnose causes of infertility
  • Treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse
  • Evaluate cancer of the ovary, uterus and cervix.

A laparoscopy can also be used to visualize organ damage.

BENEFITS OF A LAPAROSCOPY.

A laparoscopy offers some benefits over normal open surgery. A laparoscopy is less painful than an open surgery. The incisions made are very minimal which reduces pain. Patients recover much faster after a laparoscopy than after normal open surgery. Recovery time takes between a day to a week depending on the reason for the surgery, patient and a few other factors. A laparoscopy also reduces the risk of infection. The small sizes of the incision reduces the chances of bacterial infections. Due to less time spent in the hospital, laparoscopy can also be cheaper than its open surgery counterpart.

Laparoscopy was first developed in the 1970s and the huge advances in technology has seen the procedure to become as effective as normal open surgery. Healthcare professionals around the world that minimally invasive surgeries such laparoscopy is the future of surgery.

At EL-RAPHA Hospitals and Diagnostics, with the latest in medical equipment and a host of experienced doctors and nurses, we offer laparoscopy as well as a range of other minimally invasive surgeries.

WHY YOU NEED A HYSTEROSCOPY

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), recommends that girls have their first gynecology exam when they are between the ages of 13 and 15. However, most Nigerian females have their first gynecology exam during their first pregnancy. This sheds light on the amount of neglect the gynecology field in Nigeria faces. A hysteroscopy is one of many gynecological procedures every female should undergo.

WHAT IS A HYSTEROSCOPY?

Hysteroscopy is a form of minimal invasive surgery. It is a procedure that allows a gynecologist see inside the female’s uterus in order to diagnose and treat different problems.

A tiny telescope, called a hysteroscope , is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope allows the surgeon to visualize the inside of the uterine cavity on a video monitor.

Why do you need to go for a hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy can be performed to investigate problems such as

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Postmenopausal bleeding
  • Pelvic pains
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.

In 2017, the maiden edition of the Global Congress on Hysteroscopy took place in Spain. A group of world experts in the field of gynecology came together to discuss hysteroscopy. They deemed the procedure important enough to hold a congress about it, a congress that is now being held every two years!

Dr. Okohue Jude, an expert Obstetrician/Gynecologist, a minimal access surgeon and fertility expert, who was the West African Sub-region representative at the maiden edition of the Global Congress on Hysteroscopy, stated that Hysteroscopy should be a routine office procedure. Also a three year project conducted by Research-gate between January 2003 and December 2005 concluded that, Hysteroscopy is a valuable tool in the assessment of the uterine cavity.

This just goes to prove that a hysteroscopy is very important, which is why at EL-RAPHA Hospitals and Diagnostics, with the latest in medical equipments and a host of experienced doctors and nurses, we offer a host of gynecological services including hysteroscopy.

CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS: 8 INDICATORS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT

As new data pours in from different research centers, federal, state and international medical agencies, we gain vital insights into how the COVID19 virus behaves and how it affects the human body.

In this publication we intend to bring you up to speed with the latest information as regards how the virus affects us humans and new signs you may have to look for. Also we would look at all the other symptoms and discuss what specifics you would need to identify before you pick up your phone to call your health provider.

It is also vital to note that at the moment, tests can only be carried out with symptomatic patients. This is due to a resource problem as there are not enough test kits to go around. It is also of immense importance to state again that there is no known cure for this particular strain of the coronavirus. However, vaccines and treatments are being developed and set to move to clinical trials a week from the date of this publication.

As earlier mentioned, the analysis of new data has brought to light some new information that is absolutely vital to you and your loved ones!

 

8 VITAL INDICATORS AND WHAT TO DO IF DISCOVERED

  1. DRY COUGH: Coughing is a very common symptom of the Coronavirus but it’s not just any cough, its dry cough. It is not just a mild irritation in your throat or the kind of cough you get when you choke on water, this kind of cough is serious and is felt within your chest. According to CNN, a report from WHO in February indicated that 33% 55,924 people with laboratory confirmed cases of Covid-19 had coughed up sputum, a thick mucus sometimes called phlegm, from their lungs.
  2. SHORTNESS OF BREATH: This indicator does not appear early but it is one of the most serious ones. This can develop without the onset of cough. You will start to fill tightness in your chest and you will find it difficult to fill your lungs with air. This is a time t act fast according to experts.
  3. FEVER: Another very common indicator, fever is rather in some cases misunderstood. The average core temperature of humans is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) but how ever individual core temperature differs. It is for this reason that experts advice not to fixate on an number. Most children and adults will not be considered feverish until their temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius).

Infectious disease expert Dr. Williams Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious disease at Vanderbilt University of Medicine in Nashville, told CNN that “one of the most common presentations of fever is that your temperature goes up in the late afternoon and early evening. It’s a common way virus produce fever.”

  1. PROFOUND LOSS OF SMELL:New data suggests that the loss of smell and maybe even taste is gradually becoming an early sign that someone might be infected.”Based on our study, if you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 infection than other causes of infection,” Dr. Carol Yan who is an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at the University of California, San Diego Health, USA,  said in a statement.
  2. DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS: In China, a study showed that digestive and stomach (gastrointestinal) symptoms was seen in about half of the 200 patients that were observed. This symptoms was found in a unique subset of people who had digestive problems as earlier signs of infection.
  3. CONJUCTIVITIS: Data coming out of Asia shows that 1-3% COVID19 patients also had conjunctivitis. This highly contagious condition is an inflammation of a thin layer called conjunctiva that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. The virus that causes COVID19 is one of such virus that can cause this condition. Still, this condition can be only be worry some if you have other tell tell signs like coughing or shortness of breath.
  4. FATIGUE: The WHO report shows that out of 6,000 laboratory confirmed cases, 40% experienced extreme fatigue. This can be an early sign for some people. Fatigue may continue long after the virus is gone as Anecdotal reports from people who have recovered from Covid-19 say lack of energy and exhaustion lingers well after the standard recovery period of a few weeks.
  5. SORETHROAT, HEADACHE AND NASAL CONGESTION: While only a handful of people experience this condition, it is worthy to note that it bears similarity with the common cold or influenza. A report from the World Health Organization shows that nearly 14% of the almost 6,000 cases of Covid-19 in China having symptoms of headache and sore throat, while almost 5% had nasal congestion.

 

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

According to WHO and NCDC, if you develop symptoms similar to the common cold or influenza, stay at home (preferably in a different room to minimize risk of infecting family members). Try to manage the situation by treating symptomatically, taking a lot of fluids, resting and fever-reducing medications. If there is no improvement, place a call to your health care provider or the NCDC HOTLINE.

This does not apply to people above 60 or with underlying medical conditions. If you’re having concerns about coronavirus, reach out to your health care provider immediately.

It is still unsure whether pregnant women are at higher risk (you can see why here) but caution is highly advised. If any symptoms develop, kindly reach out to your health provider.

Lastly, does with underlying medical conditions, regardless of age should reach out to their health provider immediately you start developing symptoms.

It’s important that we take necessary precautions in other to safeguard our families and those we love. Stay safe and stay home.

CORONA VIRUS AND PREGNANCY

Frequently asked questions by pregnant women

HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY PREGANANCY?

Minimal data available as at the writing of this report does not indicate that pregnant women are more at risk than the average healthy person. Majority of pregnant women may have mild to moderate symptoms of the disease.

HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT MY UNBORN CHILD?

At this early stage of understanding the new coronavirus, there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage in pregnant women. Emerging data however suggests that transmission of the coronavirus to the baby during pregnancy or birth is probable. In the UK, there have been report of two likely cases but the babies were both discharged and are very well. Previously, reported cases around the world have found infection in at least 32 hours after birth. It is of crucial importance to note that all reported cases of new born babies developing the virus shortly after birth show that the baby is well.

At this point, it is considered unlikely for the virus to affect and inhibit your baby’s development and there is no evidence to the contrary.

In China, there have been a few cases of premature births in infected pregnant women but it is still unclear whether this was triggered by the virus or it was recommended that the baby be delivered early for the safety and health of the mother.

HOW CAN I REDUCE MY RISK OF CORONAVIRUS?

You can reduce your risks by following the federal and international guidelines for pregnant women and everyone else, this includes the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds or uses alcohol based hand sanitizers
  • Cough or sneeze into elbow or disposable tissue
  • Avoid contact with anyone that exhibits symptoms of coronavirus. This symptoms include high temperature and cough
  • Stay home and avoid unnecessary movement.
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid gathering in public spaces like restaurants, religious centers and event places.

WHY ARE PREGNANT WOMEN IN A VUNERABLE GROUP?

Officials have placed pregnant women in this category mainly as a precautionary measure and this should be taken very seriously. Although evidence gathered suggests that pregnant women are not significantly at higher risk than the average healthy individual, pregnancy in a small proportion of women can affect how the body manages several viral infections. This is well known by obstetricians and midwives.

SHOULD I STILL ATTEND ANTENATAL CARE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC?

Yes, it is very important to see to your scheduled appointments with your maternity team.  If you develop symptoms similar to that of the Coronavirus infection, make sure you place a call to your doctor or midwife to postpone all appointments till isolation period is over.

Sourced from WHO, mariestopes.org.ng

Fertility Preservation for Cancer Patients

For  young persons, a cancer diagnosis can be very traumatizing. Treatments that can be lifesaving can also be  life threatening to fertility. At the Elrapha Hospital and Fertility Center, we are available to counsel patients with a new cancer diagnosis regarding the risk their cancer treatments may pose to their fertility processes.

Below, our experts answer commonly asked questions about the impact specific treatments have on fertility and the fertility preservation options we offer, which include embryo, oocyte, ovarian tissue and embryo cryopreservation.

Embryo Cryopreservation

In-vitro fertilization followed by cryopreservation (freezing) of the fertilized eggs can provide an opportunity to have a pregnancy after treatment for cancer is completed. This procedure involves treatment with injectable fertility medications to stimulate development of multiple eggs. The eggs are retrieved in a procedure performed under anesthesia, called an oocyte retrieval, and fertilized with the partner’s (or donor) sperm and then frozen. The whole process generally requires two to four weeks.

IVF with cryopreservation of embryos has been used extensively for infertility treatment since the early 1980s and is considered a safe and routine procedure. The embryos can be stored for a number of years until cancer treatment is completed. Even if the cancer treatment results in ovarian failure, the woman can be given hormones to mimic a normal ovulation cycle and have the embryos transferred back to the uterus by a simple outpatient procedure.

The chance of pregnancy is about 30 to 50 percent each time one to two embryos are returned to the hormonally prepared uterus (pregnancy rate is dependent on maternal age at the time the embryos were created). If several high grade embryos can be produced and stored, that should give the couple a reasonably good chance of achieving a pregnancy at a later date. Sometimes this is not possible because of the need to start cancer treatment quickly. An IVF cycle takes about two weeks to complete, and we can often start controlled ovarian hyperstimulation to harvest eggs on a random day during a woman’s cycle.

HOW TO PROPERLY WASH YOUR HANDS

For centuries, hand washing has been one of the cheapest means to achieve a clean bill of health and prevent contamination of bacterial from publicly used facilities and equipment. The reason for this is that we are surrounded by bacteria (in fact some live within us and help us survive, they are called good bacteria.) and harmful ones can be transmitted from person to person or from animal to person by physical contact with contaminated surfaces.

As human beings, we are in constant connection with our physical environment. This inevitability makes us prone to come in contact with disease causing bacteria and viruses. Thankfully, our immune systems are sometimes able to kill these disease causing agents but not all the time.

Washing of hands regularly is now seen as an effective means of reducing ones risk of developing illnesses caused by certain microorganisms.

One of the most likely places for bacteria to spread the bathroom. A single gram (that is roughly a teaspoon) of fecal matter contains about one trillion germs, with this you can imagine why the bathroom can be considered one of the epicenters of bacteria. A recent study shows that in a given state or country, over 90% of currency notes such as the naira in circulation can contain traces of fecal matter. Other common spots are Phones and accessories, doorknobs, handles of garbage cans etc.

It is clear that not only do we need to wash our hands regularly, but we also need to wash our hands THE RIGHT WAY!

These are some tips to follow in other to wash your hands properly.

  • Turn on the tap and wet your hands for some seconds
  • Apply hand wash or soap to both sides of your palm, make sure to form a nice thick leather
  • Rub your palms together, focus on one side at a time
  • Focus on both sides of your palms, in between your fingers and under your nails.
  • You should do this for about 20 seconds or more.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly, make sure your hands are not slippery.
  • Dry your hands with a towel or tissue paper. Air dry if available.
  • Use a towel to turn of the tap.

We have a responsibility to ourselves, loved ones and our environment to maintain a high level of hygiene. The recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has made that so clear.

It is one thing to know how to wash your hands, it’s another thing to know when it is ideal to do so. However, you can wash your hands anytime you want but it is ideal to watch out for this scenarios;

  • After using the toilet
  • Before and after eating.
  • Before, during and after preparing meals.
  • After engaging in sanitary activities.
  • After changing the diaper of a child.
  • Before breast feeeding
  • After taken care of a sick person.
  • After handling dusty equipment’s.
  • After work.

Washing your hands can go a long way in protecting you and preventing you from contracting harmful bacteria and viruses such as the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (CONVID – 19).

FIBROIDS

WHAT ARE FIBROIDS?

Fibroids are noncancerous growths or tumors that mostly develop in the muscle of the uterus. They can also grow on the outer walls of the uterus. The size of a fibroid can vary from the size of a pea to the size of a watermelon. The number and size also varies from individual to individual. It is also called myomas.

TYPES OF FIBROIDS?

There are four types of fibroids. They are listed below.

  • Intramural Fibroid: This type of fibroid develops in the muscular wall of the uterus. It is the most common form of fibroid.
  • Subserosal Fibroid: These can extend beyond the wall of the womb and can grow to a large size.
  • Submucosal Fibroid: These develop in the muscle layer of the uterus. They are less common that the previous two.
  • Cervical Fibroid: They develop in the cervical region of the womb.

HOW CAN FIBROID BE DIAGNOSED?

Fibroids are usually diagnosed during a routine abdominal or pelvic exam. The doctor may feel an unusual abdominal or pelvic mass. However there are more ways to diagnose and even determine the size and number of this benign tumor(s).

They include the following;

  • Ultrasound (sonogram)
  • Hysteroscopy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Saline Sonohysterogram (Hysterosalpingogram)

WHAT CAUSES FIBROIDS?

It is not certain what causes fibroids to develop but there are some factors that influence their formation.

WHO IS AT RISK OF FIBROIDS?

As women mature they are increasingly at risk of developing fibroid. The increase in the production of estrogen and progesterone (hormones produced by the ovaries) may influence the growth of the tumor.

Women with a family medical history of recurrent fibroids in relatives have a high risk of developing fibroids.

Women with high body weight are also at risk.

SYMPTOMS OF FIBROIDS?

Symptoms will depend on location, size and number of tumors. Smaller tumors may not show any symptoms and may shrink during menopause while large tumors may cause excessive bleeding and difficulty conceiving.

Symptoms may include;

  • Abdominal mass
  • Excessive/prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Lower back pain
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.

TREATMENT FOR FIBROIDS

For fibroids without any outward display of symptoms, ‘watchful waiting’ with frequent ultrasounds in between may be prescribed as fibroids tend to shrink as she reaches menopause. However, with symptomatic fibroids the following treatment options are available;

Medical treatment.

  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone agonists (GnRHa): This drug shrinks fibroids by inducing menopause like symptoms. It stops the menstrual cycle without affecting treatment.
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone antagonists (GnRH): This stops the ovaries from producing estrogen and progesterone.

Other medications are available but ineffective against larger fibroids. They include;

  • Birth-Control Pills: This help regulate the ovulation cycle and may help with bleeding during periods
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs: such as Ibuprofen will help with the pain associated with fibroids. It does not stop the bleeding.

Very large or severe fibroids may be nonresponsive to medication. In such instances, surgeries are the next treatment option. The speed of recovery and fertility is also considered when choosing the type of surgery. The following procedures are available;

  • Myomectomy: This is one of the most common form of surgical treatment option for fibroids. It is the removal of fibroids(s) from the muscular walls of the womb. Open surgery and laparoscopy are options here.
  • Hysterectomy: This is the partial or total removal of the womb. This is only considered in extreme cases.
  • Endometrial Ablation: This is the removal of the inner lining of the womb. Only available for fibroids in specific locations as another option to hysterectomy.

Other procedures include;

  • Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
  • MRI-guided focused ultrasound surgery
  • MRI-guided percutaneous laser ablation.

Keeping weight down and eating healthy may help but it is not a proven treatment option.

STATISTICS (SITUATION REPORT)

  • 65% – 80% of women will develop fibroid at the age of 50.
  • 30% – 40% will be symptomatic.
  • Less than 0.5% of fibroids turn to cancer.
  • Mortality rate due to fibroid is almost insignificant in recent years.

 

 

WHAT IS LASSA FEVER?

LASSA FEVER

WHAT IS LASSA FEVER?
Lassa Fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever that was first discovered in the village of Lassa, Nigeria in 1969. It is an animal-borne or zoonotic illness. The animal reservoir for the Lassa Virus is the multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis) which is very rampant in Sub Saharan Africa. Affected countries include Liberia, Sierra Lone, Guinea and most parts of Northern Nigeria.

HOW IS LASSA FEVER TRANSMITTED?
Lassa fever is zoonotic in characteristics. This means that it is transmitted from infected animals to humans. The animal vector in this case is the multimammate rat and this species of rat is very common in West Africa. Lassa Fever virus is shed through the faeces or urine of an infected rat and is transmitted through contaminated foods, soiled surfaces, ingestion, inhalation or exposure to cuts and sores. Person to person transmission is also common amongst health workers where proper protective personal equipment is not used or available. Transmission through sexual intercourse has also been documented.

SYMPTOMS OF LASSA FEVER
Symptoms usually appear between 3 – 21 days of infection. An estimated 75% of infections don’t produce significant symptoms although slight fever, weakness and malaise may occur. Symptoms can include;
 Fever
 Weakness
 Malaise
 Cough
 High temperature
 Vomiting (with blood)
 Abnormal heart rhythms
 Deafness (may be permanent)
 Pain in chest, back and abdomen
 Respiratory distress
 Hemorrhaging in gums, eyes, nose or other body orifices.
 Shock

DIAGNOSIS OF LASSA FEVER
The symptoms of Lassa Fever are varied and non-specific and as such clinical diagnosis is very difficult especially in the early stages of the disease. Laboratory based test are usually definitive. However, the specimens collected are usually hazardous and therefore tests are carried out in high containment laboratories with good laboratory practices. According to the WHO, Lassa Fever can be diagnosed definitively with the following tests;

 Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
 Antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
 Antigen detection tests
 Virus isolation by cell culture

PREVENTION OF LASSA FEVER
Primary transmission of the Lassa Fever virus is through infected rats. This can be prevented by keeping a clean home, office and environment. Store food and related items in rodent –proof containers, set rat traps and apply other safe extermination techniques and methods, keep a cat if you can. Person – Person transmission can be prevented by taking extreme care while handling sick people. Use of protective person equipment like masks, gloves, googles and surgical gowns while administering care will go a long way to preventing the spread of the Lassa Fever
virus. Avoid direct contact and watch out for splashes of bodily fluid when interacting with an infected person.
Proper enlightenment in how to reduce rodent population in “high risk areas” is also key in the prevention of Lassa Fever.

TREATMENT OF LASSA FEVER
The antiviral drug Ribavirin has proven successful in Lassa Fever Patients if administered at the early stages of the disease. However, Ribavirin is not useful in the prevention of Lassa Fever. Symptomatic treatments may increase the rate of survival also administering of supportive treatments like rehydration, balancing of electrolytes, oxygenation, and treatment of any other complicating infections may also help. There is no vaccine that protects against Lassa Fever for now.

CURRENT STATISTICS (NIGERIA)
The below statistics is according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control published from 3RD – 6TH February, 2020. Based on the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever in Nigeria
 1,708 suspected cases
 472 confirmed cases
 70 confirmed deaths
 14.8% fatality rate

GENERAL STATISTICS

 100,000 – 300,000 cases recorded annually
 5,000 deaths recorded annually
 Highly affected countries include Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.
 High mortality rate (up to 80%) in pregnancies

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