New Jersey Department of Health Issues Update on Lassa Fever Case

TRENTON, N.J. -- No fever or other evidence of infection has been reported to date among individuals who may have had contact with the 38-year-old Trenton man who died on Aug. 28, 2004 of Lassa fever, a virus that is rare in the U.S. but endemic to West Africa. The man returned from a five-month stay in Liberia on Aug. 24, 2004.  He flew on Continental Airlines into Newark Liberty International Airport and took a New Jersey Transit train to Trenton.


 Officials from the Trenton Health Department and the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) have been monitoring family members and Capital Health System-Mercer Medical Center has been monitoring the more than 130 healthcare workers who may have come in contact with the patient while hospitalized Aug. 24-28, 2004.


Lassa fever is not easily spread through person-to-person contact.  The healthcare workers who were exposed to the patient are considered at low risk.


The Trenton Health Department has also been in contact with the nursing director of the school system attended by children of the patient.  As a precaution, the children will not attend school until after Sept. 18, when the incubation period and the risk of disease will have passed.


Source: New Jersey Department of Health