Lassa virus (LASV) is endemic in West Africa, causing an estimated 100 000–300 000 new infections and up to 5000–10 000 deaths yearly. There are no vaccines and therapeutics are extremely limited. Typical case fatality rates are ∼1%, although a recent 2018 Nigerian outbreak featured an unprecedented 25.4% case fatality rate. Survivors of infection suffer a lifetime of sequelae with sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) being the most prevalent. The cause of this hearing loss remains unknown, and there is a critical need for further research on its mechanisms and potential therapeutics. The objective of this review is to outline the only currently available small animal model for LASV-induced hearing loss and to identify potential surrogate models.
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