Lassa fever increasing fast in Benin

In Benin, confirmed and suspected cases of Lassa fever are increasing rapidly. Between January 21 and February 16, there were 71 cases reported by the following departments: Borgou (52 cases), Collines, Oueme, Alibori, Atlantique, Kouffo, and Littoral. During the same period of time, a total of 23 deaths, including 3 health care workers, were reported.

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

Advice For Travellers

The risk for the general traveller is low. However, the risk may be high for health care workers caring for persons with Lassa fever. All the reported cases have occurred sporadically and are dispersed across multiple states.

This infection is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items that are contaminated with rodent excreta or through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Travellers should avoid contact with rats, especially rat urine and faeces. Travellers should also practice careful personal hygiene with frequent hand washing especially when caring for sick patients who might have this infection. Although most infections are mild, Lassa fever can be a severe viral haemorrhagic illness in 1 out of every 5 infected people.

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