Lassa Fever in Nigeria
- There is an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
- Lassa fever is a disease that is spread primarily by rats.
- Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats, especially rat urine and feces, and keep their accommodations or campsites clean.
What is Lassa fever?
Lassa fever is a viral illness that usually causes mild symptoms, including slight fever, weakness, and headache. However, in some people it can cause more serious symptoms, like bleeding gums, eyes, or nose; difficulty breathing; repeated vomiting; facial swelling; pain in the chest, back, and abdomen; shock; and even death.
What is the current situation?
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has reported an ongoing outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria that began in late 2018. Most cases have been found in Edo and Ondo states in southwest Nigeria.
How is Lassa fever virus spread?
Lassa fever is spread primarily by rats. Rats that carry the Lassa fever virus live in homes and areas where food is stored. People usually become ill with Lassa fever after direct contact with rat droppings or urine and through touching objects or eating food contaminated with rat droppings or urine.
Lassa fever may also spread when a person comes into contact with an infected person’s blood, tissue, or body fluids, especially when that person is seriously ill.
What can travelers do to prevent Lassa fever?
Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats, especially rat urine and feces, and take precautions to keep their accommodations or campsites clean. Travelers should also wash hands often, and avoid contact with people who are sick.
Travelers who become seriously ill with symptoms of Lassa fever should seek immediate medical care.
- Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in CDC Health Information for International Travel (“Yellow Book”)
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- Page created: February 05, 2019
- Page last updated: February 05, 2019
- Page last reviewed: February 05, 2019
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