South Africa identifies first case of Lassa fever since 2007

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Health worker during an outbreak of Lassa fever in the village of Serabu near Kenema, Sierra Leone.
Health worker during an outbreak of Lassa fever in the village of Serabu near Kenema, Sierra Leone.
Karen Kasmauski/Corbis via Getty Images

South Africa has identified an imported case of Lassa fever, a hemorrhagic virus harboured by rats and transmitted to humans. The infection is the first to be detected in the country since 2007.

The case was identified in a man in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal who had travelled to Nigeria, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said in a statement on Friday. The man has died, the NICD said.

Lassa fever is endemic in West Africa and kills about 5 000 people a year.

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