Lassa fever is not a new disease, but the current outbreak is unprecedented, spreading faster and further than ever before.
Most people who catch Lassa will have only mild symptoms such as fever, headache and general weakness. They may have none at all.
However, in severe cases, it can mimic another deadly haemorrhagic fever, Ebola, causing bleeding through the nose, mouth and other parts of the body.
About 1% of cases are thought to be fatal, but women who contract the disease late in pregnancy face an 80% chance of losing their child, or dying themselves.
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