LIBERIA: Lassa Fever Outbreak Reported In Margibi
KAKATA, (LINA) – Reports from Margibi County say there is an outbreak of Lassa Fever in the county, leaving one dead and several others infected.
The Liberia News Agency quoting a copy of a situation report (Sitrep) from the Margibi County Health Team signed by the County Health Officer, (CHO), Dr. Myers Chea Pajibo, said on the October 14, an 18 year-old female received treatment at C. H. Rennie Memorial Hospital in Kakata after being provided care at another facility at Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC).
The patient was suspected of Lassa fever after failing to respond to treatment for malaria and typhoid.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arena virus family of viruses, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure with food or household items contaminated with urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.
Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.
Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in health care settings in the absence of adequate infection prevention and control measures.
Diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential. Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival, said the WHO.
According to the Margibi report, specimen was collected from the patient and sent to the National Reference Lab (NRL), returning positive for Lassa fever but, however, the patient died during the fourth day of admission at the C. H. Rennie Hospital.
The report said new cases seen to date include one suspected and one probable case who made contact with the deceased, while other suspected cases are unrelated to the confirmed case.
The report further revealed that the total number of contacts to date is 44, including 30 healthcare workers, while the number of contacts that have completed 21 days follow-up today is zero.
It can be recalled that during similar infectious disease (Ebola) outbreak in Margibi County, several healthcare workers lost their lives, leaving the entire healthcare services in the county unattended for a while in 2014.
Meanwhile, contacts are being followed up since the Lassa fever outbreak while case definition distribution is ongoing in all districts by District Surveillance Officers (DSOs).
At the same time, the Margibi County Health Team has beefed up efforts to increase airing of Lassa Fever messages on media outlets in the county, while carrying out further investigation, intensified monitoring of contacts, community engagement and social mobilization, active case search in affected communities and psychosocial support for affected healthcare workers are all ongoing simultaneously.