The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a travel notice this week for Nigeria due to a Lassa fever outbreak in the country.
The outbreak has been reported in the following states: Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kogi, Taraba, Enugu, Benue, Gombe, Nasarawa, and Delta.
Since the beginning of the year through March 13, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported 630 confirmed Lassa fever cases (3079 suspected cases) and 112 deaths among the confirmed cases.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever spread through contact with infected rodents or their urine or droppings. Lassa fever can also be spread from person to person through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.
Symptoms of Lassa fever (fever, chills, headache, and fatigue) develop 1-3 weeks after infection. About 20% of people infected with Lassa fever develop severe illness that can lead to hemorrhaging (bleeding), respiratory distress, vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen, and sometimes death.
CDC advises to prevent Lassa fever, travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rodents, as well as food and materials that could be contaminated with rodent urine or droppings.
Travelers should seek medical care immediately if they develop (during or after travel) fever, chills, headache, bleeding, general body aches, vomiting, or trouble breathing. Treatment with an antiviral medicine called ribavirin is most effective during the early stages of illness.
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