Nigeria Lassa fever outbreak the worst in years


Lassa fever wreaks havoc in Nigeria. File photo

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – AT least 51 people have died of Lassa fever in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

Some 244 cases of the disease have been confirmed amid an unprecedented upward trend in the number of confirmed cases being reported compared to previous years.

This has prompted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) to activate the national multisectoral Emergency Operations Centre for Lassa Fever (LF-EOC) at level 2 to coordinate and strengthen ongoing response activities in the West African country.

The LF-EOC has been activated following a risk assessment carried out on January 20.

The outcome of the risk assessment placed Nigeria at a very high risk of increased Lassa fever transmission due to increased number of states reporting cases in comparison to previous years and increased risk of healthcare worker infections and deaths due to Lassa fever infection.

Five health workers have died this year.

Some 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have reported outbreaks.

Nigeria comprises 36 states and the FCT, where the capital, Abuja is located.

The southern states of Ondo (90 cases) and Edo (89) have the highest number of cases, with Bauchi (13) and Taraba (10), both in the northeast the only others to record double digits.

Last year, no less than 184 deaths were conformed from 1 055 cases of Lassa fever.

Lassa is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever spread primarily by the African rat and other rodents.

It is spread through direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rodents.

Person-to-person transmission can also occur.

– CAJ News



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