KZN man dies of Lassa fever

A KwaZulu-Natal man has died on 12 May, after he was diagnosed with Lassa fever.

The virus is found in certain rats and can be transmitted to humans.

However, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says person-to-person transmission is not common, and mostly associated with the hospital-setting where healthcare workers have contact with the infected blood and bodily fluids of a patient.

According to the NICD, the man had extensive travel history in Nigeria before returning to South Africa. He fell ill after entering South Africa and was hospitalized in a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

‘’The diagnosis of Lassa fever was confirmed through laboratory testing conducted at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, a Division of the National Health Laboratory Service. Sadly, the man succumbed to the infection. Currently efforts are underway to trace and monitor all possible contacts. No secondary cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed at the time of this report,’’ it said in a statement.

Cases of Lassa fever in travellers returning from endemic countries are reported from time-to-time. In 2007 a case of Lassa fever was diagnosed in South Africa. The case involved a Nigerian citizen with extensive travel history in rural parts of Nigeria before falling ill and he received medical treatment in South Africa. Recently, in February 2022, an imported case of Lassa fever with secondary cases were identified in the United Kingdom.



Done By: Mitchum George


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