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Training Years: 2018-2019

Training Site: Kenema Government Hospital

Country: Sierra Leone

Mentors: John Schieffelin, MD; Donald Grant

Title: Long Term Sequelae and Neurological Disorders Secondary to Lassa Fever

Project Objectives: Lassa Fever, an acute hemorrhagic disease endemic to West Africa, is caused by infection with the arenavirus Lassa Virus (LASV). The disease is spread by the multi-mammate rat Mastomys  atalensis. It has been documented that Lassa Fever (LF) can cause a wide spectrum of neurologic manifestations during any stage of the illness. Previously noted neurological sequelae include ataxia, neuropsychiatric syndromes, memory loss, neuromuscular pain, and most notably hearing loss. Several

Aim 1: Determine the incidence of long-term neurologic sequelae and associated biomarkers. This aim will test the hypothesis that hearing loss and other neurologic deficits are more common among LF survivors than household controls. We will identify and determine the prevalence of hearing loss and deafness in a cohort of cases and household and community controls. Determination of serologic markers will elucidate the incidence of hearing loss in Lassa Fever cases, and will help determine the etiology of the hearing loss and deafness in Lassa Fever infections.

AIM 2: Determine the long-term post hospital discharge mortality. This aim will test the hypothesis that significant mortality due to LF occurs after the end of standard hospital therapy. The study of post-discharge illness and six-month mortality will lead to a greater understanding of the true public health burden of this disease and define the need for long-term monitoring of survivors for significant sequelae.

NIH Support: Fogarty scholars doctoral training award

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