Types and causes of communicable diseases

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Lassa fever is endemic in west Africa, where it probably kills several thousand people each year. With access to the region improving, the opportunity, and the need, to improve our understanding of this disease are increasing. Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by rats. It has been known since the 1950s, but the virus was not identified until 1969, when two  missionary nurses died from it in the town of Lassa in Nigeria. Found predominantly in west Africa,1 it has the potential to cause tens of thousands of deaths. Even after recovery, the virus remains in body fluids, including semen.1The years of civil unrest in Sierra Leone (1991-2002) halted the investigation (through international collaboration) of Lassa fever at a specialist unit in Kenema. Increasing international travel and the possibility of use of the Lassa virus as a biological weapon escalate the potential for harm beyond the local level. Access to the country is improving, so renewed efforts to understand it are feasible.




          Lassa fever or Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and first described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno StateNigeria.[1]  The Lassa Fever is a member of the arenaviridiae virus family. Similar to Ebola,[2]  clinical cases of the disease had been known for over a decade but had not been connected with a viral pathogen. The infection is endemic in West African countries, and causes 300,000–500,000 cases annually, with approximately 5,000 deaths.[3] Outbreaks of the disease have been observed in NigeriaLiberiaSierra LeoneGuinea, and the Central African Republic, but it is believed that human infections also exist in Democratic Republic of the CongoMali, and Senegal. The primary animal host of the Lassa virus is the Natal Multimammate Mouse (Mastomys natalensis), an animal indigenous to most of Sub-Saharan Africa.[4]  The virus is probably transmitted by contact with the feces or urine of animals accessing grain stores in residences. (Garrett, Laurie, 2001). Given its high rate of incidence, lassa fever has become a major problem in the African region. Nadezhda E. Yun and David H. Walker (1999) carried out a research on the origin on the Lassa fever. Dr. Ross Donaldson accounts his experience with Lassa fever in his book, The Lassa Ward.

Lassa virus is zoonotic (transmitted from animals), in that it spreads to man from rodents, specifically multi-mammate rats (Mastomys natalensis). This is probably the most common rodent in equatorial Africa, ubiquitous in human households and eaten as a delicacy in some areas. In these rats infection is in a persistent asymptomatic state. The virus is shed in their excreta (urine and feces), which can be aerosolized. In fatal cases, Lassa fever is characterized by impaired or delayed cellular immunity leading tofulminant viremia. (R. T. D. Emond, Barbara Bannister, G. Lloyd, T. J. Southee and E. T. W. Bowen, 2000).

Infection in humans typically occurs by exposure to animal excrement through the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts. Inhalation of tiny particles of infective material (aerosol) is believed to be the most significant means of exposure. It is possible to acquire the infection through broken skin or mucous membranes that are directly exposed to infective material. Transmission from person to person has also been established, presenting a disease risk for healthcare workers. Frequency of transmission via sexual contact has not been established.


Despite much global effort, advances in research, and updated clinical management guidelines, Lassa Fever continues to be a cause of mortality and morbidity in humans worldwide. In West Africa, accounts for more than 300, 000-500, 000 with about 5000 deaths (United States Department of Medicine, 2008) and results in significant economic losses. (Barrington, Gay & Evermann, 2002; Gunn, Naylor, & House, 2009).

Based on this the research work intends to find out the causes of diarrhea and its effect on children between the ages of 5 and 10 years respectively.


The purpose of writing this project is as follows;

  1. To identify the communicable diseases that is prevalent among children in primary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State.
  2. To find out the effects of Lassa Fever in the society at large.
  3. To outline the various causes of Lassa fever diseases.
  4. To examine the nature and scope of communicable diseases.
  5. To suggest ways to prevent or control Lassa fever.


  1. What are the prevalent communicable diseases in the local government area?
  2. How can communicable diseases like lassa fever be controlled?
  3. Does communicable disease like Lassa fever have any effect on children?
  4. Does poor toilet facilities causes lassa fever infection?
  5. Does contaminated water cause lassa fever?
  6. Does poor child health care cause lassa fever infection?
  7. Does improper covering of food cause lassa fever infection?


The importance of this study cannot be overemphasized.

  1. The study would also be of great help to the ministry of health and the government whose objectives of primary health care are preventive health and gradual eradication of these communicable diseases.
  2. It will help the teachers and the pupils to be aware of the commonest communicable diseases in the society
  3. It will help the teachers to prevent the spread of this communicable disease in the classroom
  4. It will create awareness to the general public on the causes of lassa fever in our society
  5. It helps the teachers to care about the health of the students and to know how to treat the infected pupil.
  6. It helps in continuous training of teachers on disease control.


This study is set out to investigate types of communicable diseases using lassa fever as a case study. Therefore, the study is restricted to residents of Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.


The following terms were used in this research work, many have different meaning to many people in different fields but for the purpose of this study. The meanings of these terms are as follows.

Communicable diseases: They are the diseases which are passed from one person to another through water, air, dust etc.

Non-communicable diseases: These are diseases that cannot be spread through personal contact, water, dust, air, etc.

Immunity: This is the ability or power possessed by children to resist infection.

WHO:- World Health Organization.

Threat:-. An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment.  An indication of impending danger or harm.  One that is regarded as a possible danger; a menace.

MORTALITYMortality is the state of being mortal, or susceptible to death; the opposite of immortality

MORBIDITY: Departure from a state of physical or psychological well-being, resulting from disease, illness, injury, or sickness, specially where the affected individual is aware of his or her condition.

DISEASE: A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism

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