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

5 Steps to Become Healthy & Vibrant

Looking to take your health to the next level? Here are my suggestions to help you optimize your vitality and look and feel your absolute best.

1) Remove processed foods from your diet

This is going to take a little self-discipline, but it will all be worth it, I promise. Filling up on fresh, organic, un-processed foods that are packed with live enzymes will give you a new lease on life. If you maintain this lifestyle free of processed foods, your energy level will skyrocket and stay consistent throughout the day without any help from coffee or energy drinks.

2) Eat at least one raw meal a day

The process of cooking foods removes somewhere between 50-80% of the available vitamins, minerals and live enzymes, which is problematic because the conventional foods we eat have very little nutritional value to begin with. I suggest having one meal a day that is uncooked in order to make the most of what you’re eating. This can be a big colorful salad or you can get creative and try some of the many raw food recipes online. The preparation of raw food may seem daunting at first but it is really very simple. No need for ovens or microwaves, it’s time to teach yourself how to un-cook! There are plenty of recipes out there that you can find that do not require tools like a dehydrator, Vitamix or spiralizer (but those are fun too!). Give it shot!

3) Try green juice

Get as much goodness as possible in your cup. Next time you stop at Booster Juice or Jamba Juice, choose one of the freshly squeezed juices instead of the sugary blends they so commonly whip up. They say the juices are ‘all natural’ but really they have been heavily processed and made into sugary sorbets and fruit ‘cocktails’. Don’t be fooled by this deceptive marketing, go with the simpler choice. Look for a juice blend with kale, spinach, beet, cucumber, celery, carrot, apple, ginger or lemon! If you really want to optimize your health you can invest in your own juicer and get busy in the kitchen and come up with your own marvelous creations.

Wheatgrass and E3 Live (blue-green algae) shots are also packed full of nutrition and are a much better choice than some of the other menu options. Can’t handle the taste? Chase it with a little bit of freshly squeezed orange juice.

4) Find a form of fitness that you really enjoy and do a little each day

By now, we are all aware of the importance of exercising and living a healthy active lifestyle. But what benefit of all this information about health and wellness if we don’t truly enjoy our lives? If you find yourself straining and pushing yourself in your workouts to the point where you hate it and want it to be over, then you may want to reconsider your workout. Having negative thoughts during your intense workout will just not yield the same results as if you have fun in the process. Negative, angry thoughts bring about stress and a hyper vigilant state, which in turn makes the body more acidic. Happy, playful thoughts do just the opposite; they relax you and reduce the risk of disease.

If you haven’t found your place in the world of fitness, don’t fret. There is something out there for everyone. Try a new activity each week until you find something that really clicks for you. I find it really helps if you bond with others in the class or try new activities with a friend. Camaraderie makes the workout process more fun and the benefits on the body more profound.

5) Take time to learn what foods are the best for your body

Knowledge is power! The more that you know food the better choices you can make on the fly without relying on a meal plan. The internet is the greatest tool when it comes to researching how to eat a well balanced diet. Keep a list of healthy recipes that you would like to make in the future and try to get in the habit of cooking a new one each week. This will help to broaden your healthy meal repertoire, which is beneficial for you and your loved ones.