Tags: lassa fever | new jersey | death | cdc | ebola

Lassa Fever Claims Life of NJ Man; CDC Investigating Ebola-Like Illness

By    |   Tuesday, 26 May 2015 12:11 PM

Lassa fever has claimed the life of a 55-year-old man in New Jersey and now the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is on the case to prevent the spread of the Ebola-like disease.

The man, from Essex County, died Monday and had reportedly traveled to the U.S. from Liberia earlier this month, The New York Times reported. CDC officials are now tracking down anyone who might have come into contact with the victim, whose name has not been released.

“Given what we know about how Lassa virus spreads to people, we think the risk to the public is extremely low,” state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan said, according to The Times.

Lassa fever is common in West Africa and can have symptoms similar to Ebola, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding, but it is less infectious and less likely to be fatal. Only 1 percent of Lassa patients die compared to 70 percent of those with Ebola.

The six-member CDC team includes experts on Lassa fever as well as infection control, occupational health, and lab and waste management, spokesman Thomas Skinner told The Times.

The unidentified patient reportedly traveled from Liberia to Morocco to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he landed May 17. It is unclear whether or not he was a U.S. citizen, The Times noted.

The man worked in the mining industry, which saw him travel to Liberia several times a year, health officials told the newspaper. Mines are located in remote, rural areas where Lassa fever is prevalent.

The patient did not have symptoms or a fever when leaving Liberia or upon his arrival to the U.S., but began to be monitored May 18 when he came to the hospital reporting a sore throat, fever, and fatigue. He was hospitalized May 22 when symptoms worsened.

No person-to-person transmission of the disease has ever been documented in the United States, according to the CDC.

“In rare cases it can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with a sick person's blood or bodily fluids, through mucous membrane, or through sexual contact,” the CDC announced, according to NewJersey.com. “The virus is not transmitted through casual contact, and patients are not believed to be infectious before the onset of symptoms.”

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Lassa fever has claimed the life of a 55-year-old man in New Jersey and now the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is on the case to prevent the spread of the Ebola-like disease.
lassa fever, new jersey, death, cdc, ebola
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2015-11-26
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 12:11 PM
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