Lassa fever – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, May 03, 2018 by

Lassa fever is an acute viral illness known to occur in West Africa. The disease, which gets its name from the Nigerian town where the first cases occurred, comes from the virus family Arenaviridae and is an animal-borne disease.

In particular, countries that are affected by the Lassa virus include Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria. However, neighboring countries could also be at risk because the rat carrier, Mastomys natalensis, is also found throughout the region. Mastomys rats with the virus are not affected by the condition, but they spread the virus in their urine and feces.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cases of people with Lassa virus infections per year can be anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 people, with at least 5,000 deaths. The agency, however, states that these figures may not be actual as the condition is not uniformly monitored. In areas such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, at least 10–16 percent of people who are admitted to hospitals every year is due to Lassa fever. This highlights the severity of the condition on the region.

Early in 2018, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported a large outbreak of Lassa fever in the area.

Known risk factors and symptoms of Lassa fever

People can be infected with the Lassa fever virus after coming in contact with household items, food, and water was contaminated with droppings or urine of infected Mastomys rats. Exposure to aerosols from the urine and excretions can also cause lead to the condition. In some areas, the rats are consumed and is a delicacy, which also increases the risk of infection.

Traveling to West Africa and staying in areas where there is poor sanitation greatly increases the risk of infection. Pregnant women in their third trimester have the highest risk of complications: If they are infected, stillbirth or fetal loss can occur in 95 percent of pregnancies.

A person with Lassa fever starts off with a fever, followed by general weakness and malaise. The following symptoms may appear afterward:

  • Headaches
  • A sore throat
  • Muscle pain
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Pain in the abdomen

In severe cases, the facial swelling, fluid buildup, and internal bleeding may develop.

Body systems affected by Lassa fever

Complications the may arise from Lassa fever include hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis. In fatal cases, death may occur within two weeks of the onset of symptoms as a result of multi-organ failure. If a person survives, however, a common complication is hearing loss, which can be permanent in some cases.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve Lassa fever

Research on food items that prevent or relieve Lassa fever are scarce; however, MindBodyGreen.com lists some foods that can address viral infections such as Lassa fever.

  • Prickly ash bark is known to be effective against chronic infections and digestive conditions that are symptoms of long-term viruses.
  • Apple cider vinegar could also be consumed three times a day to help support the body.
  • St. John’s Wort boosts that immune system, which helps you fight viral infections.

Treatment and management options for Lassa fever

Practicing good community hygiene is an effective way to keep infection-carrying rodents at bay. This could include measures like storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households and keeping cats.

If a person is infected, he is given the antiviral drug ribavirin if the disease is caught early on.

Where to learn more

Summary

Lassa fever is an acute viral illness known to occur in West Africa. The disease comes from the virus family Arenaviridae and is an animal-borne disease. People are can be infected with the Lassa fever virus after coming in contact with household items, food, and water was contaminated with droppings or urine of infected Mastomys rats.

In fatal cases, death may occur within two weeks of the onset of symptoms as a result of multi-organ failure. If a person survives, however, a common complication is hearing loss, which can be permanent in some cases. If a person is infected, he is given the antiviral drug ribavirin if the disease is caught early on.

Sources include:

CDC.gov 1

CDC.gov 2

WHO.int

MedicineNet.com

MindBodyGreen.com



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