Intended for healthcare professionals


Lassa outbreak: WHO warns of unusually rapid spread in Nigeria

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 19 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l781
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

A Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria and neighbouring nations has caused concern among World Health Organization officials about the speed of its spread.

Lassa virus is a haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola that spikes every year in west Africa from December to April. Last year’s outbreak was unusually deadly, claiming 171 lives, and in the first weeks of 2019 the confirmed cases climbed even more quickly.

Six weeks into the outbreak the number …

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