On May 25th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health reported a death due to Lassa fever in a person returning to the United States from Liberia. This marks the sixth case of Lassa fever in travelers returning to the United States since 1969.
The traveler did not have a fever or other symptoms (eg, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding) when departing Liberia, and arrived at JFK International Airport on May 17th. The next day, the patient went to a hospital in New Jersey presenting with a sore throat, fever, and tiredness and was sent home the same day. But on May 21st, the patient returned with worsening symptoms and was transferred to a center prepared to treat viral hemorrhagic fevers. The samples tested positive for Lassa fever and negative for Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers. The patient remained in appropriate isolation until he died on the evening of May 25th.
The Lassa virus is carried by rodents and transmitted to humans via contact with urine or droppings of infected rodents. It can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids, mucous membrane, or sexual contact in rare cases.
The CDC is working to monitor close contacts of the patient for 21 days to see if symptoms develop.
For more information call (800) 232-6348 or visit CDC.gov.