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Nigeria is currently battling an outbreak of the Lassa Haemorrhagic Fever (LHF), popularly known as Lassa fever.

About 40 people have died from the disease across the country, according to Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

Here are 10 things you should know about the disease:

  1. The disease is caused by the Lassa virus and is usually spread by rats who shed the virus in their urine and faeces.

  2. It was first discovered in 1969 in a town of the same name in Borno State, Nigeria.

  3. The incubation period of the disease ranges from 6-21 days.

  4. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting, back pain, and bleeding.

  5. Death usually occurs within 14 days in fatal cases.

  6. About 80% of people who become infected with Lassa virus have no symptoms

  7. Lassa fever is very similar to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

  8. The disease can be transmitted via sexual intercourse with infected persons

  9. There is currently no cure for Lassa fever and the only available treatment, Ribavirin, is only effective if administered within the first 6 days of infection.

  10. Lassa fever can be prevented through proper hygiene, storing of food in rat-proof containers and keeping cats.

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