Posted on 11TH MAY 2018
tagged Lassa Fever, West Africa; Liberia

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 9 May 2018
Source: The Bush Chicken [edited]

The Margibi County Health Team has declared a health emergency following 2 confirmed cases of Lassa fever deaths in less than a week.

The newly assigned county health officer, Dr. Myers Pajibo, told a press briefing on [Tue 8 May 2018] that the 2 cases involve a 56-year-old male and a 35-year-old female, who showed signs of the fever by profusely vomiting with blood on [3 May 2018] and subsequently dying on [5 May 2018], at the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata.

Pajibo noted that the specimen taken from the deceased had been confirmed by the medical reference lab as Lassa fever, leaving the County Health Team with no alternative but to treat the case as a medical emergency.

"As of today [Tue 8 May 2018], we have 2 confirmed cases of Lassa fever, and the 2 cases have died. One has been buried, and the other is en route to be buried," Pajibo said. "Realizing the seriousness of this situation, we have put in place the Incident Management System."

He added: "Whenever there is an outbreak, we call the technical people together to see how we can address it; we have notified the National Public Health Institute and the Ministry of Health to see how they could help us."

He noted that, following the death of the 2 victims, at least 50 people had been traced and are being monitored as close contacts.

Pajibo thanked the Nimba County Health Team for sending 2 technical staff to assist the county in containing the outbreak.

Health officials are asking people showing signs of malaria and typhoid to be tested to help contain the virus.

The World Health Organization's website notes that Lassa fever's initial symptoms include fever and general weakness, followed by a headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and abdominal pain.

The health body noted that humans could be exposed to the disease by encountering feces or urine from rodents and urged good community hygiene that discourages rodents from entering homes.

[Byline: Emmanuel Degleh]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[There is an ongoing outbreak of Lassa fever in Liberia this year (2018). A 13 Apr 2018 WHO report stated that for the year until 13 Apr 2018 there were 67 suspected cases and that confirmed cases have occurred in 6 counties: Nimba (4 cases), Montserrado (3), Bong (1), and Grand Bassa (1); 8 of the 9 confirmed cases died, a case fatality rate of 89 percent. The confirmed cases are predominately female (78 percent) and the age range among confirmed cases is 1 to 57 years old with a median age of 32 years (see ProMED-mail post Lassa fever - West Africa (23): Liberia, WHO 20180417.5753003). The above 2 cases are the 1st ones reported this year (2018) from Margibi county.

The situation where the 2 cases acquired Lassa fever virus is not indicated. Virus transmission to humans occurs when people are in contact with the reservoir rodent host, the multimammate mouse (in the genus _Mastomys_) or its excreta, as was likely the situation in these cases. Rodent control has to be undertaken at the village level with individual households employing the preventive measures. This requires an extensive and continuous public education effort. Transmission also occurs in health facilities when personal protective equipment is not employed and barrier-nursing practices are not adequate to protect staff from blood and secretions of infected patients.

Images of the _Mastomys_ mouse, the rodent reservoir of Lassa fever virus, can be seen at - Mod.TY

Maps of Liberia: and]

See Also
Lassa fever - West Africa (23): Liberia, WHO 20180417.5753003
Lassa fever - West Africa (17): Liberia (MO, NI) 20180310.5678669
Lassa fever - West Africa (04): Liberia 20170209.4827934
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
Lassa fever - USA: (NJ) ex Liberia 20150526.3386913
Lassa fever - Nigeria, Liberia 20140328.2363217
Lassa fever - Liberia: (BG) fatal cases 20130911.1937742
Lassa fever, imported - Sweden (02): (LG) background 20110310.0778
Lassa fever, imported - Sweden: (LG) ex West Africa 20110309.0766
Lassa fever - Liberia (03) 20070430.1406
Lassa fever - Liberia (02): confirmed 20070413.1235
Lassa Fever - Liberia: RFI 20070410.1210
Lassa fever - Liberia (02) 20061001.2812
Lassa fever - Liberia: RFI 20060929.2783
Lassa fever, imported - USA (NJ) ex Liberia (02) 20040930.2700
Lassa fever, imported - USA (NJ) ex Liberia 20040903.2467