Lassa Virus Essay

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“Viruses are microscopic parasites, generally much smaller than bacteria” (Live Science, 2018). They release DNA or RNA into the host cells to replicate themselves.

Two prominent viruses that occur in Africa, Lassa and Zika, have caused significant loss of life. These viruses present themselves in very different ways and have different modes of transmission to humans with little to no medical treatments available.

This report will evaluate the threat to public health in Queensland through the possibility of a Lassa or Zika virus outbreak and focusses on the following four criteria - distribution, effect, treatment, and control methods.

The Lassa virus originated in West Africa, and is transmitted through household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. The mode of transmission is through an infected rodent, commonly known as the Multimammate rat, or Mastomys. Due to the distribution of the Multimammate rat (Refer to Figure 1), the Lassa virus has not affected very many countries since it was first discovered in 1969.

The “Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease, meaning that humans become infected from contact with infected animals” (WHO, 2018). The rodent does not become ill once infected with the virus but can transmit it to humans
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“Only certain countries in the world have the mosquito required to carry this virus. Some types of Aedes mosquito can spread the Zika virus, particularly Aedes Aegypti but also possibly Aedes Albopictus. Australia is home to the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that can carry the virus, this mosquito is currently found in parts of Northern, Central and Southwest Queensland. Aedes Albopictus is found in the Torres Strait Islands” (Department of Health, 2018). This means that the Zika virus can be transmitted to Australia however, the only cases found in Australia are from people who received the virus overseas and brought it back with

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