It started earlier this month in the central district of Tonkolili with two Dutch health workers (one of whom has since died) contracting Lassa fever and being repatriated to the Netherlands (no barrier nursing employed in transit for the first, fatal case). The ERCC portal said that by Nov 25 there had been seven cases and three deaths, ‘including 3 laboratory confirmed, 2 probable (deceased) and 2 suspected’. According to the WHO African region bulletin, ‘a total of 48 contacts have been identified and are being monitored in Denmark, Germany, Sierra Leone, The Netherlands, Uganda and United Kingdom.’ Read more
Advice for travellers
Lassa fever is a low risk for most travellers. Rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings and it’s then passed on to humans through direct contact, touching objects or eating food contaminated with these materials, or through cuts or sores. While Lassa fever is mild or has no observable symptoms in about 80% of people infected with the virus, the remaining 20% have a severe multisystem disease. Read more about Lassa fever.
Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.