Liberia: Lassa Fever Kills 3 in Grand Bassa; over 20 Infected with the Virus

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Gabriel B. Kassay said over 60 specimens were taken to Monrovia for testing as a result of the outbreak.

Buchanan, Grand Bassa County – The Surveillance Officer of Grand Bassa County Health team has confirmed to FrontPage Africa that there is a Lassa Fever outbreak in District #4, Grand Bassa County leading to 3 deaths and 20 others confirmed infected with the virus .

Gabriel B. Kassay said over 60 specimens were taken to Monrovia for testing as a result of the outbreak.

“Out of the 60 plus, over 20 specimens were confirmed affected with Lassa fever,” he said, adding that three persons have died from the disease at the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) concession area in Wee Statutory District.

Kassay said there were several incidents of Lassa fever in the LAC plantation area in 2019.

“According to the Liberia health law, one confirmed case of Lassa fever is considered an outbreak and so since August 2019 there have been lots of people affected in the LAC area,” he said while expressing concern that “the lack of awareness is a major factor” for the frequent cases of the virus in the county.

“The Grand Bassa Health Team has been very instrumental in helping to curtail the spread of the disease in affected in the area but there is a need for awareness in the entire county”.

Kassay said the spread of Lassa fever might increase if the citizens are not trained to know the cause and effects of Lassa fever.

“I am calling on all health organizations: the county authority and other prominent citizens to help buttress the government’s effort to carry out more awareness in the communities.”

He is worried that in the “absence of continuous awareness on Lassa fever” in county, there will be “more cases of the disease in the county”.

The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health recently alarmed that “Liberia has experienced a continuous Lassa fever outbreak”, adding that there were detection of several Lassa fever cases across four counties.

“Out of the 60 plus, over 20 specimens were confirmed affected with Lassa fever,” he said, adding that three persons have died from the disease at the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC) concession area in Wee Statutory District.”

– Gabriel B. Kassay, Surveillance Officer, Grand Bassa County Health Team

The NPHIL National Reference Laboratory has recently confirmed two Lassa fever cases at the ELWA Hospital in Montserrado County.  

The first case was confirmed on December 30, while the second was confirmed on January 6, 2020. 

The first case was a 30-year old female who expired on December 28, 2019, while the second case is a medical doctor who was infected by a Lassa fever patient that expired at the CH Rennie Hospital. The doctor is recuperating well, NPHIL said.

Lassa is spread by rodents or rats and through close contact with affected persons. Lassa fever is not as infectious as Ebola and rarely spread from persons to persons. However, health workers, communities, and the general public should adhere to good hygiene practices and Infection Prevention and Control Practices (IPC) to prevent Lassa fever transmission.

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