Is Lassa fever Contagious?
Transmission of Lassa fever from Person to Person
Lassa fever, although infectious, is not a genetic disease. It is not caused by a defective or abnormal gene.
The contagious disease, Lassa fever, can be transmitted:
- from person to person by blood.
Transmission of Lassa fever from Animals
The transmission of Lassa fever can be by way of:
Discussion about Contagion of Lassa fever:
Arenaviridae: DVRD (Excerpt)
Some arenaviruses, such as Lassa and
Machupo viruses, are associated with secondary person-to-person and nosocomial
(health-care setting) transmission. This occurs when a person infected by exposure to the
virus from the rodent host spreads the virus to other humans. (Source: excerpt from Arenaviridae: DVRD)
Lassa Fever: DVRD (Excerpt)
There are a number of ways in which the virus may be transmitted, or spread, to humans.
The Mastomys rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings. Therefore, the virus can be
transmitted through direct contact with these materials, through touching objects or
eating food contaminated with these materials, or through cuts or sores. Because Mastomys
rodents often live in and around homes and scavenge on human food remains or poorly stored
food, transmission of this sort is common. Contact with the virus also occurs when a
person inhales tiny particles in the air contaminated with rodent excretions. This is
called aerosol or airborne transmission. Finally, because Mastomys rodents are sometimes
used as a food source, infection may occur via direct contact when they are caught and
prepared for food.
Lassa fever may also spread through
person-to-person contact. This type of transmission occurs when a person comes into
contact with virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of an individual
infected with the Lassa virus. A person may also become infected by breathing in
small airborne particles which an already infected person may produce by actions like
coughing. The virus cannot be spread through casual contact (including skin-to-skin
contact without exchange of body fluids). Person-to-person transmission is common in both
village settings and in health care settings, where, along with the above-mentioned modes
of transmission, the virus also may be spread in contaminated medical equipment, such as
reused needles (this is called nosocomial transmission). (Source: excerpt from Lassa Fever: DVRD)
About contagion and contagiousness:
Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily
the spread of Lassa fever is possible from one person to another.
Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness",
"transmission" or "transmissability".
Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics
or inheriting diseases from parents.
For an overview of contagion,
see Introduction to Contagion.
» Next page: Treatments for Lassa fever
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