- There is an outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
- Lassa fever is a disease that is spread primarily by rats.
- Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats, especially rat urine and feces, and keep their accommodations or campsites clean.
What is the current situation
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has reported an ongoing outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria that began in early 2018. The outbreak has been confirmed in at least 17 states with over 40 deaths reported. Most cases have been found in Edo and Ondo in southwest Nigeria states.
How is Lassa fever virus spread
Lassa fever is spread primarily by rats. Rats that carry the Lassa fever virus live in homes and areas where food is stored. People usually become ill with Lassa fever after direct contact with rat droppings or urine and through touching objects or eating food contaminated with rat droppings or urine.
Lassa fever may also spread when a person comes into contact with an infected person’s blood, tissue, or body fluids, especially when that person is seriously ill.
What can travelers do to prevent Lassa fever?
Travelers to Nigeria should avoid contact with rats, especially rat urine and feces, and take precautions to keep their accommodations or campsites clean. Travelers should also wash hands often, and avoid contact with people who are sick.
Travelers who develop serious symptoms consistent with Lassa fever should seek immediate medical care OR should contact a doctor right away.
- Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers in CDC Health Information for International Travel (“Yellow Book”)