Man dies of Lassa fever in KwaZulu-Natal hospital, says NICD

A case of Lassa fever was recognized in a affected person in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, 12 May. The man travelled extensively by way of Nigeria – one of the nations the place the virus is endemic – earlier than returning to South Africa.


The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) mentioned the person fell ailing after he returned to the nation and was admitted to a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

The affected person’s Lassa fever prognosis was confirmed by way of laboratory testing on the NICD National Health Laboratory Service.

“Sadly, the man succumbed to the infection. Currently, efforts are underway to trace and monitor all possible contacts,” mentioned the NICD.

No secondary circumstances of Lassa fever had been confirmed by the point, the NICD issued its report back to the media.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever sickness, which is principally transmitted to people by way of contact with meals or home goods contaminated with Mastomys rats’ urine or faeces.

Person-to-person transmission will not be widespread, mentioned the NICD. Most human transmissions happen in hospital settings the place healthcare staff come into contact with the contaminated blood and bodily fluids of a affected person.

Lassa fever is generally reported from West African nations, together with Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, the place it’s endemic.

“Up to 300 000 cases of Lassa fever, with about 5000 deaths, are recorded annually in the endemic countries,” mentioned the NICD.

Lassa fever Outbreak Distribution Map.svg
By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Vectorization: User:LBDesigns – Original creator: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source:, Public Domain, Link

Occasionally, travellers that return from endemic nations are contaminated with the virus. In 2007, a Nigerian citizen acquired remedy in South Africa after falling ailing. No secondary circumstances of Lassa fever had been reported in that matter.

More just lately, in February 2022, an imported case of Lassa fever was identified in the United Kingdom. The particular person in that case displayed signs of fever, fatigue and free stool earlier than being hospitalized.

There is not any vaccine accredited to deal with the virus, mentioned WHO. Early care with rehydration and symptomatic remedy improves the survival rate.

“[Lassa fever] can cause severe disease in about 20% of patients. The case fatality ratio (CFR) is 1% overall and 15% in severely ill patients,” mentioned the Organization.


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