Newszents: The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, has said the number of the primary contacts with the first index case of Lassa fever in the state, a 28- year- old lady, has increased from 60 to 110, and they have all been placed under watch.
He said this on Saturday at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital Sagamu, when he went to check on the victim of the viral disease kept in an isolation center in the hospital. He said the Ministry of Health had tracked 50 more of the former patients who were on admission “before and after the victim was brought into the two private hospitals” for treatment.
Ipaye while addressing journalists on Thursday on the first reported index case of Lassa Fever in the state, said the 28-year-old lady traveled to Ebonyi for a burial programs and returned to Ogun State on January 15, when she started manifesting the symptoms of the disease.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arena virus family of viruses. It is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.
Control of the Mastomys rodent population is impractical, so measures are limited to keeping rodents out of homes and food supplies, as well as maintaining effective personal hygiene. Gloves, masks, laboratory coats, and goggles are advised while in contact with an infected person. These issues in many countries are monitored by a department of public health. In less developed countries, these types of organizations may not have the necessary means to effectively control outbreaks.
Researchers at the USAMRIID facility, where military biologists study infectious diseases, have a promising vaccine candidate. They have developed a replication-competent vaccine against Lassa virus based on recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vectors expressing the Lassa virus glycoprotein. After a single intramuscular injection, test primates have survived lethal challenge, while showing no clinical
All persons suspected of Lassa fever infection should be admitted to isolation facilities and their body fluids and excreta properly disposed of.
Early and aggressive treatment using ribavirin was pioneered by Joe McCormick in 1979. After extensive testing, early administration was determined to be critical to success. Additionally, ribavirin is almost twice as effective when given intravenously as when taken by mouth. Ribavirin is a prodrug which appears to interfere with viral replication by inhibiting RNA-dependent nucleic acid synthesis, although the precise mechanism of action is disputed. The drug is relatively inexpensive, but the cost of the drug is still very high for many of those in West African states. Fluid replacement, blood transfusion, and fighting hypotension are usually required. Intravenous interferon therapy has also been used.
When Lassa fever infects pregnant women late in their third trimester, induction of delivery is necessary for the mother to have a good chance of survival. This is because the virus has an affinity for the placenta and other highly vascular tissues. The fetus has only a one in ten chance of survival no matter what course of action is taken; hence, the focus is always on saving the life of the mother. Following delivery, women should receive the same treatment as other Lassa fever patients.
Work on a vaccine is continuing, with multiple approaches showing positive results in animal trials