Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 32723007
Link to DOI – 10.1080/22221751.2020.1796528
Emerg Microbes Infect 2020 Dec; 9(1): 1761-1770
We report two outbreaks of Lassa fever that occurred in Benin in 2014 and 2016 with 20 confirmed cases and 50% (10/20) mortality. Benin was not previously considered to be an endemic country for Lassa fever, resulting in a delay to diagnose the disease and its human transmission. Molecular investigations showed the viral genomes to be similar to that of the Togo strain, which is genetically very different from other known strains and confirms the existence of a new lineage. Endemic circulation of Lassa virus in a new territory and the genetic diversity thus confirm that this virus represents a growing threat for West African people. Given the divergence of the Benin strain from the prototypic Josiah Sierra Leone strain frequently used to generate vaccine candidates, the efficacy of vaccine candidates should also be demonstrated with this strain.