Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria is now on WHO surveillance

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A 22 percent fatality rate was confirmed in this country. The incubation period for Lassa is up to three weeks. Most people who catch Lassa will have only mild symptoms such as fever, headache and general weakness. They may have none at all.

people-in-nigeria
People in Nigeria

Women who contract the disease late in pregnancy face an 80% chance of losing their child, or dying themselves. The only way to confirm a diagnosis is to analyse a blood or tissue sample in one of small number of specialized laboratories. The disease was first identified in the Nigerian town of Lassa in 1969 but the current outbreak is unprecedented, spreading faster and further than ever before. Multimammate rodents spread Lassa virus via their urine and droppings. It can also pass from person to person through bodily fluid. Authorities  have also  banned the consumption of raw garri, a popular Nigerian food, which it says can spread Lassa fever. WHO is on site to provide enhanced surveillance, contact tracing, and to strengthen the region’s diagnostic capabilities and communication.

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