Lassa fever kills 80 in Nigeria, says NCDC

Lassa fever

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 80 persons have so far died from Lassa fever as of Thursday.

The NCDC’s disclosed the information during its routine situation report of the Lassa Fever outbreak in the country in Abuja.

According to the NCDC report, 434 cases have been reported in the country.

The NCDC report named the states affected by the infections to include Edo (192), Ondo (150), Taraba (21), Ebonyi (17), Bauchi (15), Benue (8).

It added that While Plateau recorded eight cases while Kaduna recorded seven.

Others are Enugu State (5), Nasarawa (3), Kogi (3), Cross River (1), Imo (1), Anambra (1), Delta (1), and Abia (1).

“The disease is endemic in Nigeria like in several other countries in West Africa and most cases are seen during the dry season, often between November and May annually.

“Since January 2021, a total of 434 confirmed cases with 80 deaths (i.e., a case fatality rate of 18 percent) have been reported in seventeen (17) States and sixty-three (63) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that currently, seven laboratories in the country have the capacity to test for Lassa fever and it is been coordinated by the NCDC National Reference Laboratory (NRL).

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In addition, NCDC is participating in the largest-ever Lassa fever study supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) to provide an accurate assessment of the incidence of the disease in West Africa.

This is also geared towards the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Lassa fever.

NAN reports that the NCDC said the first death was a pregnant woman who was presented in a health facility in Nasarawa State and a medical doctor involved in the management of the patient that later sought medical care in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

NAN reports that another medical doctor linked to the index case has also been confirmed to have Lassa fever and he is currently receiving medical care in FCT.

The Nasarawa State Ministry of Health with the support of NCDC has commenced an in-depth epidemiological investigation of the cases to understand the possible source of infection and the extent of the spread of the disease.

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The body disclosed that contact tracing of all the close contacts of the patients has commenced.

The NCDC said that as the country continues to build on lessons from previous outbreaks to ensure adequate preparedness for future emergencies, the public is encouraged to keep their environments clean.

NAN reports that the Lassa fever virus is transmitted by rodents that can be found in our environment.

NAN reports that the NCDC advised Nigerians who show symptoms of Lassa fever to report immediately by calling hotlines provided by their State Ministry of Health or 6232.

Symptoms of Lassa fever include fever, headache, general body weakness with or without bleeding through the orifices in the body including the mouth, nostrils, etc.


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By Amos Kalu
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