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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 10, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
609-984-7160


 
UPDATE ON LASSA FEVER CASE


 

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 August 28 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 August 24, 2004.  He flew on Continental Airlines into Newark Liberty International Airport and took a NJ 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 health care workers who may have come in contact with the patient while hospitalized from August 24-28, 2004.

 

Lassa fever is not easily spread through person-to-person contact.  The health care 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 September 18, when the incubation period (the period between acquisition of infection and onset of illness) and the risk of disease will have passed.

 

For more information, call the DHSS at 609-588-7500 or visit the DHSS website at www.state.nj.us/health.

 

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