Margibi Health Team Confirms Lassa Fever Outbreak

KAKATA, Margibi – The Margibi County Health Team has declared a health emergency following two confirmed cases of Lassa fever deaths in less than a week.

The newly assigned county health officer, Dr. Myers Pajibo, told a press briefing on Tuesday that the two cases involve a 56-year-old male and a 35-year-old female, who showed signs of the fever by profusely vomiting with blood and subsequently dying on May 3rd and 5th, respectively, at the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata.

Pajibo noted that the specimen taken from the deceased had been confirmed by the medical reference lab as Lassa fever, leaving the County Health Team with no alternative but to treat the case as a medical emergency.

“As of today’s date, we have two confirmed cases of Lassa fever, and the two cases have died. One has been buried, and the other is en route to be buried,” Pajibo said. “Realizing the seriousness of this situation, we have put in place the Incident Management System.”

He added: “Whenever there is an outbreak, we call the technical people together to see how we can address it; we have notified the National Public Health Institute and the Ministry of Health to see how they could help us.”

He noted that, following the death of the two victims, at least 50 persons had been traced and are being monitored as close contacts.

Pajibo thanked the Nimba County Health Team for sending two technical staff to assist the county to contain the outbreak.

Health officials are asking persons showing signs of malaria and typhoid to be tested to help contain the virus.

The World Health Organization’s website notes that Lassa fever’s initial symptoms include fever and general weakness, followed by a headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and abdominal pain.

The health body noted that humans could be exposed to the disease by encountering feces or urine from rodents and urged good community hygiene that discourages rodents from entering homes.

Featured photo by Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel has over a decade of experience working as a community radio broadcaster. He is the Margibi correspondent for the Liberia Broadcasting System and currently the acting president of the Margibi Journalist Association. Emmanuel is also a member of the Press Union of Liberia and a 2016 Internews Health Journalism Fellow.

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