Medically Speaking is a platform on which some common and troubling medical issues and their probable solutions are discussed by medical professionals.  Below is the compilation of a tweetcast done on LASSA FEVER by a medical doctor, Dr.Harvey Olufunmilayo. Read, be enlightened and take the necessary actions to stop this outbreak. Lasda Fever has already been discovered in ten (10) states out of the thirty-six (36) states in Nigeria, West Africa. Your health is everything!

What I’m about to address wont surprise anyone following the Nigerian News for a few weeks now, especially the Health News.

It may interest you to know that there is a keg of gunpowder we are all sitting on, as a nation right now, by the name of #LassaFever.

As at Friday when the Minister of Health talked about this outbreak, there were 40deaths from 86cases across 10states.

If you live in Bauchi Nassarawa Niger Taraba Kano Rivers Edo Plateau Gombe and Oyo, or u have friends/family there, then pay attention.

The above named 10states, as at the time of this write up, hav been confirmed to have diagnosed cases of #LassaFever among its residents.

The spread of #LassaFever to 10states already out of 36states within 6 wks of identifying the first case only tells u how terrible it is.

From November 2015 when the first case of #LassaFever was diagnosed in Nigeria till now, barely 6weeks after, 40lives have been lost.

The Minister has said it is not yet bad enough for us to declare it a national emergency, but we must not fold our hands like all is well

The 40lives lost so far to the #LassaFever outbreak were all human beings like you and I, who must have had people who dearly love them.

We all have a role to play in creating awareness about this #LassaFever and it’s prevention before it claims more precious human lives.

I think our newspapers and media houses need to realize that it is not only “corruption” that we need to hear about on a daily basis.

As a people and as a country we can not afford to lose more lives, or have more States, invaded by this preventable but fatal disease.

In the upcoming set of tweets, I will share simple medical information on #LassaFever and tell u all the basics u need to know about it.

Incase u are interested in contributing or u have any questions, just tweet at me or use the hashtag #LassaFever and I will reply ASAP.

I want to really apologize to all those I promised an article on Premature Ejaculation,but u must agree that #LassaFever is more urgent.

What is Lassa Fever?
Lassa Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness that occurs in West Africa. It has an average duration of 1-4wks.

#LassaFever is caused by viruses referred to as “Arenaviruses”. Interestingly, the virus was identified first in 1969 in a Nigerian town

According to verifiable medical history, the Lassa Fever was first identified in two missionary nurses who died in Lassa, Borno State.

And therefore this “new” illness which killed the two missionary nurses back then in 1969 was named after the Lassa town in Borno State.

There have been recorded outbreaks of #LassaFever in many West African countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone over time.

However the real reason why #LassaFever is prevalent in West Africa is because the animal vector for the virus- rat- is common here.

About 80% of those with #LassaFever have no symptoms. However those who have symptoms may have very severe disease leading to death.

The American Centre for Disease Control & Prevention estimates 100,000-300,000 cases per year in West Africa leading to 5,000 deaths.

#LassaFever is a zoonotic disease. That means human beings only get infected after contact with an animal (rat) that has the virus.

The animal host of #LassaFever virus is the common household rat that breeds easily, and is found in many nigerian homes and kitchens.

Urine and droppings from house rats into food items, as well as direct contact with this rats is what spreads the #LassaFever virus.

Because houserats usually feed on left-over food, or improperly kept food (both cooked and uncooked), humans can get the virus this way.

Lassa Fever can affect all age groups and all genders without any discrimination. It is commonest in rural areas and semi urban regions.

People with greatest risk are those living in crowded houses with poor sanitation practices & behaviors that encourages rats to thrive.

It may interest you to know that sexual transmission of #LassaFever is a documented fact. So yes, sex is a way for one to be infected.

Early symptoms of #LassaFever includes nonspecific complaints like sore throat, fever, headache, weakness, cough, vomiting & diarrhea.

It is the nonspecific symptoms in early cases of #LassaFever that makes many health workers assume & misdiagnose it to be somethin else.

In severe disease, the patient starts to bleed from the mouth, anus, nose, vagina, skin; develops low blood pressure, coma & then death.

The clinical diagnosis of #LassaFever esp in its early stages can be very difficult because of its similarity to malaria, typhoid etc.

A confirmation of #LassaFever can only be made in few specialised Labs devoted to it. I’m happy to tell u we have some here in Nigeria.

So once a suspicion for the disease is made and a prompt referral of the patient’s sample to the lab is done, we can diagnose it here.

The drug treatment used for #LassaFever is the antiviral drug Ribavirin. And it is only very effective if the disease is detected early.

Currently there is no vaccine that protects anyone from Lassa Fever.
Thats why Prevention still remains the mainstay of dealing with it.

#LassaFever is deadly in pregnant women. Esp those between 6months and delivery date. It kills 80% of mothers & babies in this state.

A common complication of #LassaFever is deafness. One third of survivors hav deafness and for many people,the hearing loss is permanent.

#LassaFever prevention includes an aggressive promotion of Community and Individual hygiene practices that discourage rats from homes.

People should keep their kitchens and store rooms very clean. Always safely dispose left-over food and store uncooked food properly.

Never store garri, rice, flour, semo, beans, etc in a sack.Use a proper airtight container instead. Sacks are easier for rats to invade.

Dispose garbage far from home. Keep a cat. Or two. Their presence alone is enough to control the entry & survival of rats in your house.

Killing rats and eating them is a complete No No. Don’t even attempt to do it no matter how delicious it looks or tempting it appears.

If you see anyone with suspected #LassaFever case, pls call 08093810105, 08163215251, 08031571667 to notify Federal Ministry of Health.

Thanks for your time, friends.
I will save the whole #LassaFever post in my favorites for future reading.
Thanks for your time.

Olufunmilayo Harvey Ogunsanya aka #YourFavOnlineDoctor is a medical doctor. He has future plans of being a brain surgeon but presently practice in the medical department of a private firm. His regular tweet casts on diverse medical issues via his Twitter handle are absolutely informative and educative! You can follow himhim on twitter or tweet your questions at him via @drolufunmilayo

About Kemi Odutayo

‘Kemi Odutayo, a graduate of University of Lagos, Nigeria is a Practitioner of NLP, a blogger, an author, a counselor and a media consultant. She is the Head of Operations, Me4 Communications, a publishing, marketing and communications outfit specializing in publishing books/eBooks, managing and offering training for social media accounts for individuals and organizations. Kemi and her husband of many years, Kayode Odutayo have a beautiful family blessed with three lovely children.