Lassa Fever Outbreak

Lassa Fever In Nigeria: 4,820 Suspected Cases, Death Cases Rise

Lassa Fever In Nigeria: 4,820 Suspected Cases, Death Cases Rise

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said a massive rise in Lassa fever has been recorded in the country.

In a statement released on Thursday, they also reported a rise in the number of Lassa fever-related deaths.

According to its latest situation report, 155 Lassa fever-related deaths were recorded across 97 local government areas in 24 states. Also, it accounted for 4,820 suspected cases.

What is Lassa fever?

This is an animal-borne, or zoonotic, an acute viral illness spread by the common African rat. The rats are also known as the mastomys rat species. The disease is endemic in Nigeria and some other West African countries.

The Lassa fever situation report, which the centre made available to the press on Thursday, read in part:

“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021.

“Cumulatively, from Week 1 to Week 20 in 2022, 155 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 20 per cent. 24 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 97 local government areas.

“Of all the confirmed cases, 68 per cent are from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states. The predominant age group affected is between 21 and 30 years old (range 1 to 90 years, median age: 30 years).

“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021.”

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An infectious disease physician at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr Ayanfe Omololu spoke to PUNCH about the virus in an interview. Omololu who is also a member of the Nigerian Infectious Diseases Society, Dr Ayanfe Omololu said:

“It is important to maintain a clean environment at all times, properly dispose of waste, rat-proof our homes, keep our foodstuffs in covered containers and find a way to eliminate rats from one’s homes; possibly keep cats.

“One should avoid bush meat for now and, if possible, reduce bush burning. These should reduce your likelihood of being infected with the disease.”

On efforts being made to curb the spread, the NCDC said it had commenced the “implementation of Lassa Fever Environmental Response Campaign in high burden states by the Federal Ministry of Environment and the distribution of medical response commodities to states and treatment centres.”

Source: PUNCH HealthWise

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