On Nov 28 both the WHO and ECDC published summaries with more details on the Lassa fever infections contracted last month by healthcare workers in Northern province’s Tonkolili district. One of the recommendations from the ECDC’s Rapid Risk Assessment is for travellers to Sierra Leone to seek advice on Lassa fever prior to departure. The risk of infection is considered greater during the dry season (Nov-Apr) and more so for people who are visiting family and friends in rural areas than for tourists or business travellers. Advice includes avoiding ‘consumption of food and drink which may have been contaminated with rodent droppings, exposure to rodents or dust contaminated by rodents or to people presenting with haemorrhagic fever’. 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.