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Article
October 24, 1990

Acute Sensorineural Deafness in Lassa Fever

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Hematology, University College and The Middlesex School of Medicine, London, England (Drs Cummins and Machin); Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga (Drs McCormick, Benneth, and Fisher-Hoch and Ms Farrar); Nixon Memorial Hospital and Lassa Fever Research Project, Segbwema, Sierra Leone (Drs Cummins and Bennett); the National Diamond Mining Corporation Hospital, Tongo, Sierra Leone (Dr Samba).

From the Department of Hematology, University College and The Middlesex School of Medicine, London, England (Drs Cummins and Machin); Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga (Drs McCormick, Benneth, and Fisher-Hoch and Ms Farrar); Nixon Memorial Hospital and Lassa Fever Research Project, Segbwema, Sierra Leone (Drs Cummins and Bennett); the National Diamond Mining Corporation Hospital, Tongo, Sierra Leone (Dr Samba).

JAMA. 1990;264(16):2093-2096. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450160063030
Abstract

A prospective audiometric evaluation of 69 hospitalized febrile patients in Sierra Leone, West Africa, revealed a sensorineural hearing deficit (SNHD) in 14 (29%) of 49 confirmed cases of Lassa fever and in 0 of 20 febrile controls. An SNHD was present in nine (17.6%) of 51 people who had evidence of previous Lassa virus infection. Twenty-six of 32 local residents who had previously sustained a sudden deafness had antibody titers to Lassa virus of 16 or greater, compared with six of 32 matched controls. Lassa fever is associated with an incidence of SNHD, which considerably exceeds that previously reported with any other postnatally acquired infection, and accounts for a prevalence of virus-related hearing impairment in the eastern province of Sierra Leone that is greater than that reported from anywhere else in the world.

(JAMA. 1990;264:2093-2096)

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