LIBERIA: Lassa Fever On Increase In Bong, Nimba, Grand Bassa Counties
(LINA) – Cases of Lassa Fever are said to be on the increase in Bong, Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties which are considered the ‘Lassa Fever belt’ in Liberia.
According to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), four new confirmed cases have been reported, with two cases in Bong County, one in Grand Bassa County and one in Nimba County.
According to a release, blood specimen was collected and tested positive of Lassa Fever at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory, adding that the recent case from Nimba
County was confirmed by NPHIL on June 7.
The release said a total of 128 contacts, including 59 healthcare workers, has been line-listed and are being monitored.
The NPHIL said one case in Bong County is currently undergoing treatment at the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko, Bong County, while one has been discharged, and that two deaths have been reported in the recent outbreak.
The NPHIL, in the release, said since the beginning of January this year, a total of 112 suspected cases have been reported across the country.
Of this number, it said, 18 have been confirmed positive, with seven cases in Nimba County, three in Montserrado County, four in Bong County, two in Margibi County and two in Grand Bassa County.
The NPHIL said the case fatality among confirmed cases is 72.2 percent (13/18), adding: “The high death rate is alarming to NPHIL, and we have launched an investigation.”
Lassa Fever is a deadly viral disease that is spread by rodents (rats) through close contact with affected persons.
Meanwhile, the NPHIL is advising residents to keep their environment clean, cover their dishes to prevent rats defecating or urinating on them as well as cover their food in tightly closed containers to prevent rats from playing in food or drinking water.
“Residents are also advised not to eat rats because they can get the sickness by coming in contact with their blood, urine, or feces and refrain from drying food in open places where rats can reach,” the NPHIL said.
Residents are also advised to avoid body contact with affected persons and endemic zone and visit a health facility immediately when they feel sick.
“We continue to improve our rapid response at the county, district and community levels through the County Emergency Operation Centers, and to provide technical, financial and logistical support to contain the outbreaks,” the NPHIL pointed out.