The World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting a Lassa fever outbreak in Benin in four individuals who developed symptoms while residing in Nigeria and subsequently travelled to Benin. Three of the cases were fatal.

Benin map/CIA
Benin map/CIA

The index case was a 35 year-old male residing in Nigeria but originally from Nadoba village in Togo, which borders the town of Boukombé, Benin.

He became ill on 15 December 2017 while in Nigeria and travelled to Nadoba to stay with relatives. On 8 January 2018 he was admitted in the Saint Jean de Dieu hospital in Tanguiéta in Benin with symptoms including high grade fever, haematemesis, bleeding gums, conjunctivitis and abdominal pain. He died on 9 January 2018 and a safe and dignified burial was conducted on 10 January 2018 in Boukoumbé. On 13 January 2018, blood samples sent to the national laboratory in Cotonou tested positive for Lassa fever by PCR.

As of 17 January 2018, a cumulative total of four cases including three deaths (case fatality rate 75.0%) had been reported from Boukoumbé commune (one confirmed/index and one suspected) and Toucountouna commune (one probable and one suspected).

To date, in Benin, 144 contacts have been identified, including 47 (32%) in health facilities and 97 in the community. There are also contacts that are being followed in Togo.