This publication is sponsored the Public Health Advocacy Campaign group in memorial of health workers and Nigerians Dying of Lassa fever.
LASSA FEVER: WHY THERE ARE MORE PUBLIC HEALTH QUESTIONS THAN ANSWER.
By Lina Moses ( published by The Guardian UK) A brief Excerpt.
“The reality is we don’t yet know what will work to reduce Mastomys to prevent Lassa fever at the community level. The virus was first identified in 1969 and the rodent as harbouring the virus (that is, being its ‘reservoir’) in 1973.
Lassa virus is among the ‘viral haemorrhagic fevers’ — the terrifying group of viruses that people make movies and write books about.
These diseases get attention, not because of the disease burden in endemic countries, but because of the fear they induce in wealthier nations — the fear that a deadly virus will emerge out of Africa (accidentally or intentionally) and cause mass hysteria, morbidity and mortality. Expenditures for Lassa fever research have reflected this perspective and have concentrated on detection, vaccine development and treatment rather than prevention and control in endemic areas. So here we are, 40 years after the reservoir was identified, without one empirical piece of evidence on how to prevent Lassa fever and very limited information on how the virus is maintained in rodent populations.
Many are sceptical Lassa fever can be prevented with rodent control, maintaining that for sustained reduction we need a vaccine. Yet vaccine development of a neglected disease only endemic in west Africa seems unlikely in the near future.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an organisation that studied Lassa fever from the early 1970s to 2003, states “the complete control of this rodent is impractical.” In the meantime, more and more cases are reported from Sierra Leone and Nigeria, where the disease is also endemic. The only strategy we now have in our toolbox is good old-fashioned sanitation and hygiene.”
Dr Lina Moses directs community and ecology projects for Tulane University’s Lassa Fever Programme. She is also a partner in the ESPA-funded research consortium Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa.
This Publication is sponsored by Chijioke Ifediora, Esq.
On behalf of ” Justice for Idowu Victor Ahmed”
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