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Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2013

Nigeria reports new outbreak of Lassa fever

The Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of health, Hyacinth Oteh announced Monday that a new outbreak of the deadly Lassa fever has been confirmed eastern Nigeria’s Ebonyi State, according to a Global Times report Tuesday.

Nigeria

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Sec. Oteh says that two victims have died and at least four people are on the “danger list”, or critical condition.

Health ministry officials are in the state trying to contain the outbreak and educate the public on Lassa.

Last April, Nigeria reported a Lassa outbreak that included 818 suspected cases, including 84 deaths from 19 of the 36 States from Jan.2012 to April 13, 2012.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is zoonotic, or animal-borne.

Lassa fever is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. While Lassa fever is mild or has no observable symptoms in about 80% of people infected with the virus, the remaining 20% have a severe multisystem disease.

The animal host of Lassa virus is a rodent known as the “multimammate rat” of the genus Mastomys. Humans get infected with Lassa through aerosol or direct contact with excreta from the rodent. Laboratory infections do occur primarily through contaminated needles.

The symptoms of Lassa fever typically occur 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. These include fever, retrosternal pain (pain behind the chest wall), sore throat, back pain, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, facial swelling, proteinuria (protein in the urine), and mucosal bleeding. Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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