Lassa Fever: the Killer with No Vaccine


Nigeria has been struck by an outbreak of a deadly disease called “Lassa Fever”. The disease is one of the top 10  illnesses that can cause dangerous pandemics according to BBC News. Unfortunately, the disease has no vaccine.

Lassa Fever is not new at all. It has been around since 1969, according to Center of Disease Control (CDC). The disease is spreading faster and further than ever before throughout Nigeria. Health workers are at risk,and a number have become infected and dying. “There is risk of the virus spreading to other West African countries due to increased migration,” said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, professor of virology at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria and the former regional virologist for the WHO’s Africa Region.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of people who become infected with Lassa Fever have no symptoms. The virus is found in the tropics, especially West Africa states Symptoms of the illness include hemorrhaging in the gums, eyes, nose, or elsewhere, difficulty breathing, cough, swollen airways, stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea (both bloody), difficulty swallowing, or hepatitis according to

Nigeria has faced its worst outbreak on record at 72 people confirmed to be dead from the virus and 317 people infected states CNN. “The ability to rapidly detect cases of infection in the community and refer them early for treatment improves patients’ chances of survival and is critical to this response,” said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, the WHO representative to Nigeria. The disease is not airborne states WHO. The disease comes from exposures of urine or faeces from Mastomys rats.

The CDC has confirmed a case of Lassa Fever at Emory University Hospital.The patient at Emory University Hospital is an American physician assistant who’d been doing missionary work in Togo. He is said to have developed the virus there, and at the request of the United States State Department, was directed to Atlanta, Georgia for treatment. He was flown to the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit at Emory University, where four other United States patients were kept for treatment from Ebola in 2014, according to

Ribavirin, an artificial drug, has been used with success in Lassa Fever patients cites Center of Disease Control (CDC) . It has been the most effective when given early in the course of the illness. Yet, there is currently no vaccine developed to save patients from the fever.