Lassa Fever


    In News

    • Recently published study has found that climate change will aid the spread of Lassa fever to the central and eastern parts of the continent in the next 50 years.

    About Lassa fever 

    • It is a zoonotic disease endemic to parts of west Africa.
    • Causes : It is caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the Arenaviridae family.
    • Transmission :  It’s transmitted through the urine and droppings of infected multimammate  rats found in most tropical and subtropical countries in Africa. 
      • They are able to contaminate anything they come in contact with. 
      • The Lassa virus spreads through human to human contact with tissue, blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions. 
        • This includes coughing, sneezing, kissing, sexual intercourse and breastfeeding. In hospitals the disease is spread through contaminated equipment.
    • Fatality rate : The fatality rate for hospitalised patients is generally high and can reach 80 per cent at times. 
    • Vaccines and Treatment :  There is currently no vaccine approved to prevent the disease. 
      • Antiviral drug ribavirin is often used to treat Lassa fever although the usage is not a licensed treatment. 
      • Other procedures used are supportive care including hydration, oxygenation, and treatment of specific complications arising due to the disease. Preventive vaccines are currently under research and development.