Health officials react to Lassa fever outbreak in Benin

Health officials have redoubled their response efforts in light of the Lassa fever outbreak in Benin.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) Children’s Fund are looking to revamp their emergency response efforts after an outbreak of Lassa fever occurred in Benin.

Lately, the disease has been spreading. There have been 52 suspected and four confirmed cases, which have resulted in 17 deaths. Two of these deaths were health care workers. The cases include a four-month-old child who is receiving treatment in Tchaourou, located in the northeastern portion of the country.

WHO has been on alert since January when a pregnant woman, who experienced symptoms of the fever, died in a hospital. After she succumbed, six health care workers in the hospital experienced symptoms of the disease.

Health care professionals in Benin are taking measures to slow the outbreak. WHO and UNICEF are partnering with other humanitarian efforts to provide support to Benin. Health care officials are establishing quarantine units, while a contact tracing system is being implemented to track the outbreak. 

A network of over 200 health care workers is also being established to monitor cases and contacts across the country.

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