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    ABSTRACT: Poor quality housing is an infringement on the rights of all humans to a standard of living adequate for health. Among the many vulnerabilities of those without adequate shelter is the risk of disease spread by rodents and other pests. One such disease is Lassa fever, an acute and sometimes severe viral hemorrhagic illness endemic in West Africa. Lassa virus is maintained in the rodent Mastomys natalensis, commonly known as the "multimammate rat," which frequently invades the domestic environment, putting humans at risk of Lassa fever. The highest reported incidence of Lassa fever in the world is consistently in the Kenema District of Sierra Leone, a region that was at the center of Sierra Leone's civil war in which tens of thousands of lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of dwellings destroyed. Despite the end of the war in 2002, most of Kenema's population still lives in inadequate housing that puts them at risk of rodent invasion and Lassa fever. Furthermore, despite years of health education and village hygiene campaigns, the incidence of Lassa fever in Kenema District appears to be increasing. We focus on Lassa fever as a matter of human rights, proposing a strategy to improve housing quality, and discuss how housing equity has the potential to improve health equity and ultimately economic productivity in Sierra Leone. The manuscript is designed to spur discussion and action towards provision of housing and prevention of disease in one of the world's most vulnerable populations.
    BMC International Health and Human Rights 01/2013; 13(1):2. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease endemic in West Africa but with no previous case reported in Ghana. We describe the first two laboratory confirmed cases of Lassa fever from the Ashanti Region of Ghana detected in October and December, 2011.
    Ghana medical journal 09/2012; 46(3):166-70.
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the epidemic nature of Lassa fever (LF), details of outbreaks and response strategies have not been well documented in resource-poor settings. We describe the course of a LF outbreak in Ebonyi State, Nigeria, during January to March 2012. We analyzed clinical, epidemiological, and laboratory data from surveillance records and hospital statistics during the outbreak. Fisher's exact tests were used to compare proportions and t-tests to compare differences in means. The outbreak response consisted of effective coordination, laboratory testing, active surveillance, community mobilization, contact and suspected case evaluation, and case management. Twenty LF cases (10 confirmed and 10 suspected) were recorded during the outbreak. Nosocomial transmission to six health workers occurred through the index case. Only 1/110 contacts had an asymptomatic infection. Overall, there was high case fatality rate among all cases (6/20; 30%). Patients who received ribavirin were less likely to die than those who did not (p=0.003). The mean delay to presentation for patients who died was 11±3.5 days, while for those who survived was 6±2.6 days (p<0.001). The response strategies contained the epidemic. Challenges to control efforts included poor local laboratory capacity, inadequate/poor quality of protective materials, fear among health workers, and inadequate emergency preparedness.
    International journal of infectious diseases: IJID: official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 07/2013; · 2.17 Impact Factor

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May 21, 2014