Lassa Fever Induced Hearing Loss: The Neglected Disability of Hemorrhagic Fever.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Lassa fever (LF) a hemorrhagic fever endemic to Western has an incidence of approximately 500,000 cases per year. Here, we evaluate hearing loss and other sequelae following LF.


This case-control study enrolled laboratory confirmed LF survivors, non-LF Febrile controls and Matched Community controls with no history of LF or recent hospitalization for a febrile illness. Study participants completed a symptom questionnaire. Pure-tone audiometry was completed by a subset of participants.


One hundred forty-seven subjects were enrolled aged from 3-66 years (mean = 23.3). LF survivors were significantly more likely to report balance difficulties (55% vs 20%, p < 0.001), hair loss (32% vs 7%, p < 0.001), difficulty speaking (19% vs 1%, p < 0.001), social isolation (50% vs 0%, p < 0.001), and hearing loss (17% vs 1%, p = 0.002) in comparison to Matched-Community Controls. Similar trends were noted in comparison to Febrile Controls, although these findings were non-significant. Fifty subjects completed audiometry. Audiometry found that LF survivors had significantly more bilateral hearing loss in comparison to Matched-Community Controls (30% vs 4%, p = 0.029).


This study characterizes the sequelae of LF and highlights the need for increased access to hearing care in West Africa.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ficenec, SC; Percak, J; Arguello, S; Bays, A; Goba, A; Gbakie, M; Shaffer, JG; Emmett, SD; Schieffelin, JS; Bausch, D

Published Date

  • November 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 100 /

Start / End Page

  • 82 - 87

PubMed ID

  • 32795603

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7807889

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-3511

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1201-9712

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.021


  • eng