Liberia: Health Authorities Respond to Four Cases of Lassa Fever


Monrovia – The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) is responding to Lassa fever outbreak in the country.

According to a release issued in Monrovia, cases of Lassa fever are on the increase in the Lassa belt (Bong, Nimba, and Grand Bassa Counties. Four (4) new confirmed cases have been reported, from Bong (2), Grand Bassa (1) and Nimba (1) since the last outbreak in May 2018. Blood specimen were collected and tested positive for Lassa fever on 4th-7th June 2018, at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL). The recent case from Nimba County was confirmed by the NPHRL on June 7, 2018.

A total of 128 contacts, including 59 healthcare workers, have been line-listed and are being followed up. One case is currently undergoing treatment at Phebe Hospital in Gbarngba Bong County, while one has been discharged. Two deaths have been reported in this recent outbreak.

Since the beginning of January 2018, a total of 112 suspected cases have been reported across the country. Eighteen (18) have been confirmed positive by RT-PCR (Nimba-7, Montserrado-3, Bong-4 Margibi-2, and Grand Bassa-2. The case fatality rate among confirmed cases is 72.2% (13/18). The high death rate is alarming to NPHIL and has launched an in-depth investigation.

The release also discloses that although Lassa fever is not new to Liberia, it is a deadly viral disease that requires urgent attention. The disease is spread by rodents or rats and through close contact with affected persons.

People are advised to take the following public health measures:

  • Keep your environment clean
  • Cover your dishes to prevent rats pu-puing or pee-peeing on them
  • Cover food in tightly closed containers to prevent rats from playing  in food or drinking water
  • Do not eat rats because you can get the sickness by coming in contact with their blood , pee-pee or pu-pu
  • Do not dry food in  open places where rats can reach
  • Avoid body contact with affected  persons and endemic zone
  • Visit a health facility immediately when you feel sick

Meanwhile, NPHIL, MOH and partners are appealing to the general public to take the necessary preventive measure and kindly report cases of fever to the nearest health facility. We continue to improve our rapid response at county, district and community levels through the County Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) and to provide technical, financial and logistical support to the outbreaks.