Since the beginning of the year, the West African country of Liberia has reported 38 suspected Lassa fever cases.

Liberia map/CIA
Liberia map/CIA

Suspected cases were reported from 6 prefectures: Bong (17 cases, including 9 deaths), Nimba (14 cases, including 6 deaths), Gbarpolu (4 cases), Lofa (1 case), Margibi (1 case) and Montserrado (1 case). Laboratory testing to date performed in Kenema, Sierra Leone has revealed seven confirmed cases.

All the Lassa fever confirmed cases tested negative for Ebola virus disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 134 contacts have completed the 21-day follow-up period. A total of 17 additional contacts are being monitored. None of these contacts have so far developed symptoms.

Related: Sweden Lassa fever: Imported from Liberia, Additional details

Lassa fever is endemic in Liberia and causes outbreaks almost every year in different parts of the country. Based on experiences from previous similar events, it is expected that additional cases will be reported.

Although occasional travel-associated cases of Lassa fever have been reported in the past, the risk of disease spread from Liberia to non-endemic countries is considered to be low.