lassa fever

Lassa Fever in the UK! Timely Escalation to be the Saviour?

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

The UK has witnessed the influx of Lassa fever! Yes! You heard it right! After the year 2009, Lassa fever has raised its ugly head for the first time in the UK.

What’s Lassa Fever?

Two people herein have been found infected with Lassa fever. It comes across as an Ebola-like virus that is likely to have symptoms like deafness and vaginal bleeding.

The ones infected are reported to have returned from West Africa. It’s the place where this disease is an endemic, as stated by the UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency). Their 3rd relative is also showing the same symptoms but awaiting results of confirmatory test.

One could get Lassa fever through exposure to household or food items that are contaminated with faeces or urine of the infected rats. The other source is – infected bodily fluids.

One out of the two patients is reported to have been recovered, whereas the third one is undergoing treatment at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

The Good News

However, the good news is that there is no proof of onward transmission from these cases. According to Dr. Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical advisor, Lassa fever is amongst the rarely occurring diseases all across the UK and is not found to spread that easily amongst the people. It could thus be inferred that public is at a lower risk of Lassa Fever.

The WHO has gone on records to mention that 1% of those infected with Lassa virus succumb to it.

Moreover, 80% are asymptomatic, whereas the other witness fever with headaches, diarrhoea, and vomiting. There could be facial swelling in severe cases along with lung cavity being filled with fluid, mouth, vagina, nose or gastrointestinal tract bleeding, and last, but not the least – low blood pressure.

25% of the patients surviving the disease may witness deafness. The hearing restores to normalcy within one-three months in half of those cases.

What’s with West Africa?

West Africa, in the year 2021, witnessed 100K to 300K cases of Lassa fever. Dr. Sir Michael Jacobs, one of the consultants at the Royal Free London, those residing in West Africa’s endemic areas, i.e. the areas where rodents are found in large numbers, are at maximum risk of Lassa fever. The healthcare personnel in these regions are also likely to contract Lassa fever.

Fever, in any form, if lasts after 3 days, is a sign of major illness. It’s always advisable to visit the doctor in case of such a prolonged fever. Lassa fever, if treated on time, could be brought under control. After all, any medical ailment nipped in the bud would prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Quickbits

Though the UK has found two such patients as of now, it’s actually a matter of time to see if the ailment has been checked or unknowingly passed on to the other patients.

The UK was quick to act on Lassa fever. The world at large also needs to take a cue, before something uncontrollable takes shape.

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