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Lassa fever – full recovery without ribavarin treatment: a case report

NA Ajayi
KN Ukwaja
NA Ifebunandu
R Nnabu
FI Onwe
DA Asogun


Background: Lassa fever is a rodent-borne zoonosis that clinically manifests as an acute hemorrhagic fever. It is treated using ribavarin. Surviving Lassa fever without receiving the antiviral drug ribavarin is rare. Only few cases have been documented to date.
Case Presentation: We report a case of a 59-year old female with fever who was initially thought to have acute pyelonephritis and sepsis syndrome with background malaria. Further changes in her clinical state and laboratory tests led to a suspicion of Lassa fever. However at the time her laboratory confirmatory test for Lassa fever returned, her clinical state had improved and she made full recovery without receiving ribavarin. Her close contacts showed no evidence of Lassa virus infection.
Conclusion: This report adds to the literature on the natural history of Lassa fever; and that individuals may survive Lassa fever with conservative management of symptoms of the disease and its complications.

Keywords: Lassa fever; viral hemorrhagic fever, survival, ribavarin