Lassa fever in Nigeria
04 Jan 2024
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported continuous occurrence of Lassa fever throughout 2023. From the beginning of 2023 to the middle of December there were 1201 confirmed cases, including 210 deaths. A further 8800 suspected cases were reported.
During 2023, 28 States recorded at least one confirmed case. Seventy-six percent (76%) of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi States.
Lassa fever is a type of viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) that occurs in parts of West Africa. Lassa virus is transmitted through the pee or droppings from infected rodents (Mastomys rats). Transmission can also occur through body fluids of infected people.
Advice for Travellers
The risk to you becoming infected or developing Lassa fever is extremely low, unless you are living in conditions of poor sanitation and overcrowding in rural areas where these rodents are usually found.
If you are travelling to an area with a Lassa fever outbreak, you should be aware of your risk of infection and transmission routes of Lassa virus which is most commonly through:
- swallowing or breathing in tiny particles in the air if it has been contaminated with infected rodent excretions, for example during cleaning activities such as sweeping
- touching objects soiled with infected rat droppings or urine, and infecting open cuts or sores
- eating food which has been contaminated with rat droppings or urine
If you are medical personnel travelling to work in an outbreak region you must follow strict infection prevention control guidance.
If you return from a Lassa fever outbreak area, you should seek rapid medical attention by contacting NHS 24 (Scotland) or NHS 111 (rest of UK) for advice prior to attending UK medical facilities if you develop a high temperature (fever) and have:
- returned to the UK within 21 days from a region or area with a known outbreak of Lassa fever
- had contact with individuals infected with a VHF
For further information, see the fitfortravel Viral Haemorrhagic Fever page.