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How To Avoid Lassa Fever Infection

Nigeria is currently battling with the scourge of Lassa fever virus. The government cannot do it alone. It will take a collective effort between the government and the populace to stop the spread of this infection. This is an educative article of how to avoid Lassa fever infection. Together, we can do it.

Lassa Hemorrhagic fever (LHF) was identified first in Lassa town of Borno State Nigeria, in 1969. It is an acute viral fever caused by the Lassa virus, and exists in some other West African countries such as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Carrier agent:

how to avoid lassa fever infection

The host of the Lassa virus is the type of rat, which has multiple and prominent breasts, and lives in the bush and close to residential environments.

Mode of transmission:

  • Eating infected bush rat
  • Eating food contaminated with rat urine or faeces
  • Contact with the body fluid of an infected person (urine, throat secretions, blood, saliva etc.)


  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swollen face
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Bleeding from mouth, nose etc.


  • Maintain a clean environment.
  • Stop all contacts between rats and humans.
  • Desist from bush burning so that rats will stay in their natural habitat.
  • Block all rat hideouts.
  • Protect all foods from rats by covering tightly in containers.
  • Stop drinking soaked garri.
  • Cook your foods thoroughly.
  • Do not dry foods/grains in the open where rats can have easy access.
  • Limit contact with an infected person by wearing gloves, masks, goggles and other protective clothing when you do.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after contact with a sick person.
  • Urgently visit a hospital, or encourage a sick person to go to any health facility immediately you notice any of the symptoms above.

Government response:

The Federal Government has established a national call centre at the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), for all public health-related emergencies. You can call any of the 10 numbers from 097000010 to 097000019 if you have, or see anyone with symptoms of Lassa fever.

You can also monitor the daily situation report on Lassa fever from the website of the Federal Ministry of Health HERE


Contributed by Dr. Frank Obi


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