Largest-ever outbreak of Lassa fever contained but monitoring still needed – UN
The Lassa outbreak, which started in Ogun in south-west Nigeria in December 2016, spread across much of the country and into neighbouring Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso.
In all, 423 cases had been confirmed in Nigeria and 106 people, including eight health workers, lost their lives. Over the past six weeks, however, the number of new cases have dropped and it is no longer considered to be a national health emergency, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO continues to support Nigerian government efforts to respond effectively to the disease and has urged local communities to remain vigilant and report “any rumours” of new cases to the authorities.
The UN health agency has also called on health workers to stay on high alert for Lassa fever when handling patients, irrespective of their health status.
Health workers should adhere to standard precautions, and wear protective equipment like gloves, face masks, face shields and aprons when handling suspected Lassa fever patients, it added.
Lassa fever is a viral infection, primarily transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine, faeces, or blood.