Lassa fever – Guinea

The health authorities of Guniea, West Africa, reported 1 fatal case of Lassa haemorrhagic fever.

Around 30 contacts have been identified in Yamou prefecture where the Ebola epidemic was already reported in February 2021.

Lassa Haemorrhagic fever is caused by a virus. Virus-infected mice when cohabits with the human population can transmit the disease. It can then spread from human to human as well.

The Ministry of Health, Guinea, has taken urgent measures including:
Raising awareness among populations and health services on universal infection prevention and control measures; Strengthening epidemiological surveillance; and management of suspected cases with Ribavirin in health structures identified for this purpose.

Photo: Lassa fever virus – Electron micrograph

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms but for 1 percent of those infected, death occurs in the first two weeks. The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected mouse. Spread can then further continue between people.

There is no vaccine. Prevention requires isolating those who are infected and decreasing contact with mice.

Descriptions of the disease date from the 1950s. The virus was first described in 1969 from a case in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria. Lassa fever is relatively common in West Africa.

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