Lassa fever in Nigeria is an acute viral disease caused by the Lassa virus. It was first discovered in 1969. It can last up to 4 weeks or may result in death. This virus is spread by food or household items contaminated with excreta of infected rodents or by consuming infected rats. Lassa fever is one of the top 7 destructed epidemics. Let us know what actually Lassa fever is and also learn about the history of Lassa fever in Nigeria


What is Lassa fever in Nigeria?

Lassa fever caused by the Lassa virus is a highly infectious disease. It is usually spread by having contact with the waste of an infected rat. After that, it spread from person to person. It is difficult to diagnose with symptoms. To know the correct disease laboratory tests are highly recommended. There is no vaccine of Lassa fever in Nigeria. To prevent Lassa fever in Nigeria, isolation of infected people is recommended. The first case of Lassa fever was seen in Lassa, Nigeria. 


History of Lassa fever in Nigeria

lassa fever in nigeria

Lassa fever is an animal-borne disease that was first seen in Lassa, Nigeria. It was discovered in 1969 and was named after the city it was first originated. Approximately 300000 infections occur annually and the death rate is about 5000 per year. Lassa fever in Nigeria is more drastic than in other parts of Africa. Subsequently, an outbreak occurred in other parts like Sierra Leone and Liberia. In 2001 conditions were controlled in Nigeria. In 2007 to control the outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria “the institute of Lassa fever” control at Irrua was developed. After this institute, Lassa fever in Nigeria occurred annually. The NCDC was developed in 2011 to control the outbreak of various epidemics in Nigeria. 


Symptoms of Lassa fever in Nigeria

There are no particular symptoms of Lassa fever in Nigeria. But the symptoms of Lassa fever in commonly noticed were:


  1. First of all, symptoms are usually seen after 7 to 21 days of exposure. 
  2. 80% of people who suffered from Lassa fever had few or no symptoms.
  3. 20% of people suffered symptoms like bleeding gums, breathing problems, vomiting, chest pain, and low blood pressure.
  4. In the long term, it may cause hearing loss.
  5. It can also lead to death within the 14 days of the disease.


Causes of Lassa fever in Nigeria

Some of the causes of Lassa fever in Nigeria include:


  1. It is caused by an RNA virus.
  2. It commonly spread from animals like a rat to humans
  3. The most common breed of rat that causes Lassa fever is a natal multimammate mouse that can produce a large number of offspring.
  4. Once the mouse catches this virus, it spreads it throughout its life by urinating and feces.
  5. It also transmits from person to person


Prevention of Lassa fever

is possible. Prevention of Lassa fever in Nigeria is only possible if people are determined. There is a saying, “ prevention is always better than cure.” Some of the ways of prevention of Lassa fever in Nigeria are as follows:


  1. Keeping hygiene is the first step towards the prevention of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
  2. Keep food and food supplies closed and tightly packed.
  3. Storing food and grains in rodent-proof containers
  4. Gloves, masks, and goggles are highly recommended during contact with an infected person
  5. Organizations must be made to spread awareness among people.


Lassa fever in Nigeria in 2020


In 2020 there has been a lot of cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria. From January 1 to February 9 70 deaths have been confirmed due to Lassa fever. 472 confirmed cases have been found in Nigeria during this period. 75% of cases were reported in 3 states of Nigeria, i.e, Edo (167 cases), Ondo (156 cases), and Ebonyi (30 cases). 15 cases and 1 death of health care worker in Nigeria has been reported in 2020. To prevent the outbreak NDC activated the national emergency operation center. 

WHO advice to maintain community hygiene to control the spread of Lassa fever. It also advises to store food in rodent-free containers and maintain cleanliness. 




Lassa fever is a deadly disease caused by rodents. It can be prevented by appropriate cleanliness and hygiene. It is more seen in the dry season. It spreads quickly from rodents to human and then from human to human. Hygiene is the only way to prevent yourself from this disease. 


Hope you find this article useful. Stay safe and healthy.