from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – MORE people than usual are dying from the Lassa fever in Nigeria.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the deaths of 40 people.
The death toll could be higher considering the figure is for the period between January 3 and 30.
Some 211 laboratory cases have been confirmed.
Five cases have been reported among health workers.
In contrast, noticeably less Lassa fever cases with less geographical spread were reported for the same period in 2021.
Then, there were 54 confirmed cases, including 12 deaths, from eight states, compared to 14 of the 36 Nigerian states currently.
Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria and the annual peak of Lassa fever cases is typically observed during the dry season (December–to-April) but WHO warned the number of infections is expected to rise further.
The health agency noted while endemic in Nigeria, cases are much higher than the previous epidemic seasons.
“This could be attributed to reduced response capacity in surveillance and laboratory testing,” WHO stated.
“It is necessary to continue to monitor the annual peaks of Lassa fever in order to contextualize incidence and inform the effective management of Lassa fever.”
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has activated the National Emergency Operations Centre alert mode for effective multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary coordination of the response.
Similarly, state public health operation centres were activated in affected states.
Mastomys rats are the main reservoir for Lassa virus.
According to WHO, it is impossible to eliminate them from the environment.
– CAJ News