Via Awoko: Sierra Leone News: Health alert -Lassa fever in Kenema… 3 deaths. Excerpt:
Three people died of Lassa fever in Kenema during the second week of February. Concerns continue to rise about the increase in the number of positive cases of Lassa fever, according to the District Medical Officer, Dr. Mohamed Alex Vandi.
“It is no secret that Lassa fever is endemic in Kenema,” according to Dr. Vandi. “The disease is in every part of the country with the exception of the Western area.”
The illness was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Nigeria. The virus is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred.
People can become infected with the Lassa virus from exposure to urine or faeces of infected rats. Lassa virus may also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of a person infected with Lassa fever. Sexual transmission of Lassa virus has been reported. The Lassa virus is spread between humans the same way Ebola is spread – through bodily fluids. The Lassa virus is not airborne and cannot be spread without contact with an infected person.
Lassa fever occurs in all age groups and both sexes. Persons at greatest risk are those living in rural areas where rats are usually found, especially in communities with poor sanitation or crowded living conditions.
According to the DMO, the rodent responsible for the fever is moving across the country as a result of the farming activities. Rats carrying the virus are relocating into towns to avoid farmers' fires.