LASSA FEVER - WEST AFRICA (04): LIBERIA

Posted on 09TH FEB 2017
tagged Lassa Fever, West Africa; Liberia

A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
http://www.isid.org

Date: Tue 7 Feb 2017, 8:27 AM
Source: The New Dawn [edited]
http://www.thenewdawnliberia.com/news/12711-lassa-fever-kills-2-in-nimba

The head of Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Thomas Nagbe says Lassa fever has killed 2 people in Nimba County and leaves more than 100 contacts to be "line listed".

The Health official told UNMIL Radio's live program Coffey Break on [Mon 6 Feb 2017] that the 1st 3 Lassa fever cases that hailed from Nimba killed 2 victims while the other patient has been undergoing observation for 2 weeks now.

But he said over 100 people have been line listed as contacts of the first 3 people attacked by the disease; while announcing that 15 people that came in contact with 1 of the Lassa fever patients while traveling from Nimba to Monrovia have also been line listed and were responding to treatment.

Dr. Nagbe says the disease is now in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties, respectively, as he classified Lassa fever as a "major threat". He urged Liberians to keep their homes clean and to cover all foods properly to avoid Lassa fever on grounds that during dry season, the disease can be spread by rats.

Dr. Nagbe emphasized that Lassa fever erupts in dry seasons and cause havoc like the deadly Ebola virus disease that broke out in West Africa and killed thousands of people here between 2013 and 2014.

The health official says the disease can be transmitted through bodily fluid like Ebola, spreading from one infected person to another. He warned Liberians to be mindful of the disease suggesting that while people may regard most fever as malaria, they still need to undergo medical tests to establish whether they are actually down with malaria or Lassa fever.

Dr. Nagbe concluded that Lassa fever disease can take 6 to 21 days in a patient before showing symptoms, thus necessitating a 21-day observation period for those who come in contact with patients infected with Lassa fever to prevent further spread.

[Byline: Ethel A. Tweh and Winston W. Parley]

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Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[Liberia, a West African country, is endemic for Lassa virus. Lassa fever cases have been reported sporadically there. The Lassa fever belt in Liberia primarily occupies Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties across the northern tier of counties bordering Guinea. Liberia has also been a source of an imported Lassa fever case in Sweden in the past. Also, there was a businessman who acquired his infection there and then returned to New Jersey, USA, where he died.

The virus is a member of the family _Arenaviridae_ and causes acute hemorrhagic fever. Virus transmission to humans occurs when people are in contact with the reservoir rodent host, the multimammate mouse (in the genus _Mastomys_), or their excreta. Transmission also occurs in health facilities when personal protection equipment is not employed and barrier nursing practices are not adequate to protect staff from blood and secretions of infected patients.

As noted in previous posts, prevention and control of Lassa fever in nature depends on control of the rodent reservoir, which occurs across Nigeria and beyond. Reduction of populations of this rodent will require active participation at the village level. That will necessitate mounting a public education program with support of rodent control technicians. Preventing entry of rodents into the home and keeping food materials tightly covered are helpful measures to prevent infection. Elimination of these rodents completely is probably not possible.

Images of mastomys mice can be seen at http://www.ispot.org.za/node/255877. - Mod.TY

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/promed/p/54.]

See Also
2016
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Lassa fever - West Africa (29): Nigeria, Liberia 20160520.4233773
Lassa fever - West Africa (23): Sweden (VG) ex Liberia, additional information 20160406.4141321
Lassa fever - West Africa (22): Sweden 20160404.4137025
2015
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Lassa fever - USA: (NJ) ex Liberia 20150526.3386913
2014
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Lassa fever - Nigeria, Liberia 20140328.2363217
2013
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Lassa fever - Liberia: (BG) fatal cases 20130911.1937742
2011
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Lassa fever, imported - Sweden (02): (LG) background 20110310.0778
Lassa fever, imported - Sweden: (LG) ex West Africa 20110309.0766
2007
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Lassa fever - Liberia (03) 20070430.1406
Lassa fever - Liberia (02): confirmed 20070413.1235
Lassa Fever - Liberia: RFI 20070410.1210
2006
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Lassa fever - Liberia (02) 20061001.2812
Lassa fever - Liberia: RFI 20060929.2783
2004
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Lassa fever, imported - USA (NJ) ex Liberia (02) 20040930.2700
Lassa fever, imported - USA (NJ) ex Liberia 20040903.2467
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