from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – AN outbreak of Lassa fever, caused by rats, has killed more than 100 people in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
The deaths have been documented from 586 cases.
Lassa fever has affected some 26 states out of the West African country’s 36 states.
The commercial state of Lagos is the most recently affected.
Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, confirmed the death of 103 people.
He reiterated the federal government’s commitment to ensure that research institutes in Nigeria would find Lassa fever vaccines to curb the incidence of the yearly outbreaks.
Lassa fever is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of infected rats.
It can spread via direct contact between humans.
The disease is known endemic in Nigeria and many West African countries where sporadic cases are reported all year round.
Seasonal peaks are typically between December and April.
Africa’s most populous country of 200 million people, Nigeria is prone to disease outbreaks.
The government recently embarked on a campaign to vaccinate over 55 million children against polio.
The campaign targeted children aged under five years.
Nigeria meanwhile is on high alert for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mamora confirmed that five cases had been identified but all results came out negative.
“The public must avoid peddling fake news because of the danger it might pose to the society,” the minister warned.
Thousands of people have died since the outbreak of the virus in China at the end of 2019.
– CAJ News