Authorities concerned with increasing numbers of cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria

So far in 2013, a total of 190 cases of Lassa fever have been treated at a hospital that specializes in treating this infection. Of these, 100 have died and 30 are still in critical condition. States that have reported cases of this infection include Ondo, Taraba, Edo, Benue, Plateau, Rivers, Nassarawa, Ebonyi and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory). Authorities suspect that many other cases may have died before seeking medical care.

Lassa fever can be a severe viral haemorrhagic illnesscaused by Lassa haemorrhagic fever virus. Since this infection istransmitted to humans through contact with food or household items that are contaminatedwith rodent excreta, travellers should avoid contact with rats,especially rat urine and faeces. Travellers should also practice carefulpersonal hygiene such as frequent hand washing and avoid contact with sickpatients. Travellers to the areas where the disease has been reported canreduce the risk of exposure by exercising caution and avoiding exposure topotentially contaminated food.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Lassa Fever.