Published on: February 15, 2022




One of the three persons diagnosed with Lassa fever in the UK has died as per recent reports


  • Caused by virus, That is found in West Africa
  • First discovered in 1969 in Lassa, Nigeria
  • Primarily found in countries in West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria where it is endemic.


  • Spread by rats
  • A person can become infected if they come in contact with household items of food that is contaminated with the urine or feces of an infected rat
  • Can also be spread, though rarely, if a person comes in contact with a sick person’s infected bodily fluids or through mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or the mouth
  • Person-to-person transmission is more common in healthcare settings.


  • People don’t usually become contagious before symptoms appear and cannot transmit the infection through casual contact such as through hugging, shaking hands or sitting near someone who is infected
  • Symptoms typically appear 1-3 weeks after exposure
  • Mild symptoms include slight fever, fatigue, weakness and headache and more serious symptoms include bleeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen and shock
  • Most common complication associated with the fever is deafness. In many such cases, the hearing loss can be permanent.
  • According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, about 80 per cent of the cases are asymptomatic and therefore remain undiagnosed
  • Some patients may need to be hospitalised and develop severe multi-system disease


  • Death can occur from two weeks of the onset of symptoms, usually as a result of multi-organ failure
  • The death rate associated with this disease is low, at around one per cent. But the death rate is higher for certain individuals, such as pregnant women in their third trimester
  • Fifteen per cent of the hospitalised patients may die


  • Avoid contact with rats
  • Maintaining hygiene in other areas to prevent rats from entering the house