Lassa fever (LF) is a major public health threat in West Africa. After the violent civil conflict in Sierra Leone (1991 to 2002) ended, the LF research program at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) was reestablished. Higher case fatality rates in LF patients were observed compared to studies conducted prior to the civil conflict. The criteria used for defining the stages of LF and differences in sensitivity of the assays used likely account for these differences. LF may be more widespread in Sierra Leone than recognized previously. Peak presentation of LF cases occurs in the dry season, which is consistent with previous studies. This paper's studies also confirmed reports conducted prior to the civil conflict that indicate that infants, children, young adults, and pregnant women are disproportionately impacted by LF. High fatality rates were observed among both ribavirin treated and untreated patients, which underscores then need for better LF treatments.
Lassa fever in post-conflict Sierra Leone
Geography: Sierra Leone
Reference: Shaffer JG, Grant DS, Schieffelin JS, Boisen ML, Goba A, Hartnett JN, et al. (2014) Lassa Fever in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 8(3): e2748. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002748