Lassa fever

Viral infection especially prevalent in parts of Africa; it is an introduced disease in Western Europe. Rats are the carriers, excreting the virus in their urine and contaminating food, for example, which leads to infection in man. The virus can also be transmitted from human being to human being. Hospital staff are at risk. The clinical manisfestations are serious: fever, muscular pain, headache, coughing and vomiting. A characteristic of the disease is an ulcerated sore throat with swelling of the lymph nodes of the neck. The sore throat gradually gets worse, and swallowing becomes difficult. Patients usually have stomach ache and diarrhoea. The skin bleeds a little, and in the later stages there can be stomach bleeding with vomiting of blood. The disease is often fatal. Treatment is sometimes possible with blood

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