Nature has a way of consistently reminding us to keep ourselves and our surroundings clean and when we refuse to conform we get scares from conditions such as Ebola, Swine Flu, Meningitis and recently Lassa Fever. It may not be at your doorstep yet but “when a neighbour’s beard catches fire you had better get water ready …” This time by the close of day 26th February 2023, fourteen people had proven Lassa Fever in Ghana and one of them had died.
How I wish we will just follow the basics of personal and environmental hygiene all the time.
What is Lassa Fever and how does it present?
Lassa Fever is caused by a virus that often gets to humans through contact with food and household items that have been contaminated with the urine or faeces of a rat.
It is not known to be spread through casual contact such as shaking hands, hugging or sitting close to an infected person.
Unlike the quick and devastating Ebola Virus disease, Lassa Fever starts mildly and gradually and initial symptoms that appear 6-21 days after contact include:
These may progress to:
Simply living in or traveling to an area with an outbreak of Lassa Fever will increase your risk of becoming infected with the virus if you do not take the necessary precautions. Several other factors can increase your risk even more, including:
We should practice personal and environmental hygiene every day and not wait for a disease alert before we scramble for a way; we may not always be lucky.
You may also have noticed that many of these viral illnesses are copycats especially at the beginning. Just when you think you have a “serious common cold” so all will be well, it hits hard sending you to the land of your ancestors. In short seek medical care promptly even when you think it’s “nothing serious.”
Diagnosing Lassa Fever
We will leave that to your doctor. Just seek help when you do not feel well.
Management of Lassa Fever
In all cases it is important that you are isolated (kept away from people with other diseases) and the professionals treating you will wear protective clothing.
Recovery is usually 8-10 days after onset of symptoms. Lassa Fever virus is excreted in urine 3-9 weeks after onset of symptoms and may continue to be found in semen three (3) months after onset of symptoms.
Keeping our homes and cities clean requires our individual efforts in addition to people tasked with cleaning common areas doing their work. What is the point if you clear all the rubbish in your home but the team required to pick up and dispose of the rubbish is not bothered? Look at the heaps of rubbish all over the place including markets where we buy food. We are simply living on a Time Bomb but it’s never too late to turn things around. Start today and keep at it.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/Mobissel
*Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise. He is the author of the award-winning book, ‘Unravelling The Essentials of Health & Wealth.’
Thought for the week – “One healthy choice is ALWAYS followed by another. Make a healthy choice today!”