Wednesday, February 3

Figures You Won't Believe About Lassa Fever

Figures You Won't Believe About Lassa Fever

Figures You Won't Believe About Lassa Fever

Figures You Won't Believe About Lassa Fever

The Lassa fever outbreak has been playing peekaboo in Nigeria for the past 47 years, but the population is yet to get a handle on it.

Here's what a recent snap poll by NOI polls and EpiAFRIC found.

Do you know?

The proportion of people aware of Lassa fever outbreak is lowest in the south east, where only 73% are aware, compared with 89% in the north east.

The researchers think it may be because the disease was first described from the region and named after a town called Lassa in Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno.

Residents there have lamented naming the disease after their village has caused them humiliation and wish the World Health Organisation to change the name of the disease.

The most aware age group are 26-t0-35-year old and those older than 60 years. In all, Some 81% of respondents are aware of Lassa fever, both male and female in nearly equal proportion.

How will you know?

Contrary the buzz Lassa fever has generated on social media-even having a range of hashtags, only 13% of respondents got to know of the outbreak through social media.

Even less knew through newspapers, but good old word of mouth was the source of information for at least 25% of people.

Radio was the source of information for 39%, slightly less than 46% of people who relied on television.


More than 93% of respondents are aware rats infecting food stuff can bring on Lassa fever.

But 10% are still sure eating bush meat can pass on the virus, as will contact with an infected person.

What signs to note

More than half the respondents cited fever as a symptom of Lassa fever, and fewer to symptoms as headache, diarrhoea, sore throat and cough.

Proportion of people pointing to less-known symptoms like body weakness and external bleeding is smaller across geopolitical zones entirely.

Thanks to intense propaganda about the virus, more people are latching on to public health messages that encourage clean environments, keeping food covered and getting rid of rats around the environment. But only one in 20 consider handwashing as a preventive measure.

The hoopla about the fever is probably why 92% of people will seek medical assistance 'if they thought they were infected," the study authors wrote, even if it meant going to a public hospital or primary health centre.

Some 70% are "confident" regarding ability of hospitals in their locality to manage outbreak of the disease.

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