Dr. Elyse Watkins
Lassa Fever and a Cryptic Cause of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Objective: To determine if more selective use of the ototoxic medication gentamicin at initial presentation of a febrile patient exhibiting signs consistent with Lassa fever may significantly reduce the burden of hearing loss in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: A PubMed literature search was conducted, and pertinent articles were retrieved to review Lassa fever, neurologic sequela of Lassa fever, use of gentamicin in sub-Saharan Africa, ototoxic medications, and sudden sensorineural hearing loss. These were used as the basis of the article.
Results: Sudden sensorineural hearing loss in Lassa fever may be a neurologic sequela or may be from the use of ototoxic gentamicin at initial presentation of the febrile illness, prior to a confirmed diagnosis of Lassa fever.
Conclusions: More selective use of the antibiotic gentamicin when a patient presents with a febrile illness, given that it is not indicated for Lassa fever, will reduce the burden of hearing loss in Lassa fever survivors in sub-Saharan Africa.
Smith DJ. Lassa Fever and a Cryptic Cause of Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2020; 2(2).
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