1997 - Lassa fever in Sierra Leone
21 March 1997
Disease Outbreak Reported
Lassa fever continues to occur in Kenema District following the outbreak during 1996. Between November 1996 and 11 March 1997 a total of 239 cases were admitted to hospital in Kenema District and 39 (16%) died. Of these cases, 140 with 23 deaths had occurred since 1 January 1997. A WHO mission investigated the situation in Kenema District from 14 to 21 February to redirect control activities, review existing surveillance activities identify future needs and prepare a plan of action. The cooperation of NGOs based in the area such as MERLIN, UK, have resulted in improved communications for a rapid patient referral. Clinical care has also improved which has reduced case fatality rate among hospitalized cases. However, ribavirin for treatment of cases is in short supply and WHO is seeking sources for additional supplies.