Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lassa to Catch up On

Lassa Fever Virus has apparently been plaguing the country of Nigeria for the past 10 weeks, in an outbreak that has spanned 7 states within the country, caused 21 people to fall ill, and one person to die. To give some perspective to this problem, the ROBO virus transmitted by Matomys natalensis was responsible for infecting 2,184 and killing 75 Nigerians in just the last two years.

However, this estimate is probably low for total number of incident infections, as 80 percent of people infected with the virus present asymptomatically. The other 20 percent present with severe and acute hemorrhagic fever syndrome and multi-system disease. Patients that are identified to have severe disease are normally treated with Ribavirin with varying degrees of success.

The ProMed report gave no indication as to what the Nigerian Center for Disease Control is planning on doing in response to the outbreak. I would assume that the next step would be vector control and a public health campaign about staying away from rodent excreta. Additionally, the report mentions that unless proper control measures are taken, human to human transmission is possible. As there is no vaccine available, prevention will have to take the form of education, behavioral modification, and animal reservoir control.

The Adorable Matomys natalensis
Although the vector Matomys natalensis is incredibly cute, it may be time to try and lower the population of these critters in Nigeria. We will see how the Nigerian Center for Disease Control responds in the near future!

- Marcus Munoz

No comments: