150 people being monitored for Lassa fever

At least 150 people are being monitored for Lassa fever because they came in contact with a man who died from the viral hemorrhagic disease in New Jersey after visiting West Africa.

According to a HealthDay report, eight of those 150 were on a flight with the man from Morocco to the United States. The man, who has not been named, flew from Liberia to Morocco and then to the U.S. and developed the illness soon after arriving.

He visited the emergency department at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., but did not tell staff there that he had been to West Africa, according to The New York Times. He was released from that hospital but returned later in the week with more symptoms. It was then that he disclosed he had recently been to Liberia.

Lassa fever is similar to Ebola but is not nearly as deadly — overall, just 1 percent of all Lassa virus infections lead to death, while Ebola has a 70 percent fatality rate. Health officials have said the risk to the public in this case is low.

More articles on infectious diseases:
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WHO publishes best practices for naming infectious diseases

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