Lassa virus is a rodent borne arenavirus responsible for human cases of Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever, in West Africa and in travelers arriving to non–Lassa-endemic countries from West Africa. We describe a retrospective review performed through literature search of clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of all imported Lassa fever cases worldwide during 1969–2016. Our findings demonstrate that approximately half of imported cases had distinctive clinical features (defined as fever and >1 of the following: pharyngitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, oropharyngeal ulcers, or proteinuria). Delays in clinical suspicion of this diagnosis were common. In addition, no secondary transmission of Lassa fever to contacts of patients with low-risk exposures occurred, and infection of high-risk contacts was rare. Future public health investigations of such cases should focus on timely recognition of distinctive clinical features, earlier

Credit: NIAID

treatment of patients, and targeted public health responses focused on high-risk contacts

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