Lassa fever in Nigeria

Updated: October 18, 2019


Original publication date: August 21, 2017

Current situation

Lassa fever is a known risk in West Africa.

Nigeria is currently experiencing a large outbreak of Lassa fever. Suspected and/or confirmed cases have been reported in the majority of states. Edo and Ondo states have reported the highest number of cases.

For the latest updates on Lassa fever in Nigeria, including the total number of cases and deaths, please visit the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control's website.

About Lassa fever

Lassa fever is caused by the Lassa virus. Lassa virus is most commonly spread through the urine and feces of infected rats.

This includes:

Those who are most at risk of getting Lassa fever:

Lassa virus can also be spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, tissue, urine, feces or other bodily fluids of a person infected with Lassa fever.

Most people infected with Lassa virus will have mild, or no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they are usually gradual and include:

In some instances, the illness can progress to a severe form with symptoms of:

The disease is especially severe during late pregnancy when maternal death frequently occurs; fetal loss occurs in more than 80% of cases, particularly during the third trimester.

Overall, about 1% of people with Lassa fever will die.

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Lassa fever.


Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.

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