Lassa Fever: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from this Deadly Plague. 

One common saying that has always proved true is, “prevention is better than cure.” Fittingly, that applies to Lassa fever. Currently, no vaccine protects against Lassa fever! But yes, you heard well, you can prevent it! 

When many got the news of the outbreak of Lassa fever, their primary concern was how to stay safe. Lassa fever is caused by the Lassa virus and can be transmitted by exposure to waste products of infected Mastomys rat or contact with bodily secretions of infected humans. 

It is difficult to detect in its early stage as its symptoms do not become evident until one to three weeks after contact with the virus. And the antiviral drug, Ribavirin, for this fever, only treats this case successfully when administered at the early stage.

With such easy transmission and less apparent symptoms, it is critical to consider how to stay free from this plague. Below, you will read practical tips to keep safe from each of the reported means of contacting the virus. Enjoy!

Lassa Fever: 5 Ways to Prevent It

Food Items

The Lassa virus can be transmitted to humans when they come in contact with food items that have been contaminated with waste products from rodents.

Tips to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • Keep foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers.
  • Cook all foods properly
  • Rewash plates, utensils, and pots with soap and hot water before use
  • Dispose food/fruits that have been eaten by rats; do not be tempted to cut the part away and eat.
  • Wash fruits thoroughly before you eat
  • Avoid drying food in open places.
  • Do not keep tomatoes, onions, pepper, or other cooking ingredients on the floor. 

Laboratory Transmissions

Contact with blood, urine, or saliva of an infected person can transmit Lassa fever to an uninfected person.

Tips to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • If you need to carry out a medical test, do so only in hospitals with a reputation for adequate infection prevention measures.
  • Wash hands with soap and running water after visiting any hospital.

Home Contact

Even at the comfort of your home, you are at risk of the virus. No, this is not to scare you; you can limit the possibility.

Tips to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • Use traps or other means to prevent the stay of rats in your house.
  • Fill all holes in the house to prevent the entry of rodents.
  • Block all possible rat hideouts.
  • Regularly clean your home and surroundings.
  • Make regular hand washing a habit.

Physical Contact

As with many other diseases, direct contact with an infected person can also transfer the Lassa virus.

Tips to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • Avoid touching rats with bare hands.
  • Avoid person-to-person contact with someone infected.
  • Wash hands with soap and running water after visiting a sick person.
  • Limit hug and handshake. 
  • Bathe with soap and hot or warm water each night before bed

Note: If it’s not your custom to bathe every night, insert it in your to-do-list. That will give you the drive. Then, remember, prevention is better than cure. 

Household Items

Contaminated items such as bed sheets, clothes, eating utensils, and papers can also be carriers of this deadly virus. 

Tips to Prevent Lassa Fever

  • Do not store bed sheets or clothes in places where they are at risk of being walked on by rats.
  • Avoid buying roadside snacks in newspapers; take a clean container along if you must buy them.
  • Wash cloth items before use if they have been stored for a long time.
  • Wash eating utensils before use.

Note: In case of any suspicion of the virus, avoid self-medication. Visiting a hospital for confirmation is the best thing. You either get rest of mind or increased chances of survival through early treatment.

If you apply these, you can be sure of preventing yourself from Lassa Fever. But before you go, quickly educate yourself with these facts about Lassa fever. There are myths about Lassa fever; thus, with these listed facts, you can be on the know. 

Facts You Should Know About Lassa Fever 

  • Lassa fever was identified in 1969, although it’s possible that the first occurrences were in the 1950s.
  • It belongs to a group of hemorrhagic fevers caused by highly infectious viruses.
  • It is native to West African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia.
  • The virus shows no symptoms in most cases. It can result in dysfunction in organs in some cases.
  • Lassa fever shows symptoms gradually, starting with fever and tiredness and, in some severe cases, facial swelling and bleeding, amongst others.
  • Deafness, alopecia, and gait disturbance are common cases among patients who survive this deadly plague.
  • This fever can cause death within 14 days of contact, especially in pregnant women.
  • The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated food or household items.
  • It can also be transmitted from person to person or via laboratory transmissions.
  • Age and gender are not criteria for contracting the disease, although those in rural communities and health workers are at higher risk.
  • Treatment at an early stage improves the chances of surviving the disease.

Conclusion

Generally, good community and personal hygiene will go a long way in helping you keep free from this deadly plague. While we all pray for good health, it is crucial to take action to stay healthy. Ensure to apply the tips discussed above; good health to you! I repeat, good health to you!

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