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Antiviral Res. 2008 Apr;78(1):103-15. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2007.11.003. Epub 2007 Dec 17.

New opportunities for field research on the pathogenesis and treatment of Lassa fever.

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Kenema Government Hospital, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Kenema, Sierra Leone.


Unlike many viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), Lassa fever (LF) is not a rare disease that emerges only as sporadic cases or in outbreak form. Although surveillance is inadequate to determine the true incidence, up to 300,000 infections and 5000 deaths from LF are estimated to occur yearly. The highest incidence is in the "Mano River Union (MRU) countries" of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Although civil unrest in this region over the past two decades has impeded capacity building and research, new-found peace in recent years presents new opportunities. In 2004, the Mano River Union Lassa Fever Network (MRU LFN) was established to assist MRU countries in the development of national and regional surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of LF. Here, we review the present literature on treatment and pathogenesis of LF and outline priorities for future research in the field made possible by the improved research capacity of the MRU LFN.

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