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Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Nigeria records 784 confirmed cases, 142 deaths from Lassa Fever in 2023 so far

Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control and Prevention (NCDC), yesterday, said less than three months, the country has registered 784 confirmed cases of Lassa fever with 142 deaths in 23 states.

The NCDC, via its official website, said the infections were recorded from January 1 till date.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhage fever caused by the Lassa virus.

The natural reservoir for the virus is the Mastomys natalensis rodent (commonly known as the multimammate rat or the African rat).

Other rodents can also be carriers of the virus which spreads through direct contact with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

The virus can also spread through contact with objects, household items and surfaces contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

It said in Epidemiological Week 11, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 70 in Week 10 of 2023, to 38 cases.

The agency said the cases were reported from Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Taraba, Benue, Rivers, Plateau, and Nasarawa States.

NCDC said cumulatively from Epidemiological Week 1 to Week 11, 2023, 142 deaths had been reported with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 18.1 per cent which was lower than the 18.7 per cent CFR for the same period in 2022.

The NCDC said, in total for 2023, 23 states had recorded at least one confirmed case across 97 local government areas.

The public health institution said71 per cent of all new confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi while 29 per cent came from six states.

It said of the 71 per cent, Ondo reported 32 per cent, Edo, 29 and Bauchi, 10.

According to the NCDC, the predominant age group affected is 21-30 years with the median age as 32 years.

It said the male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases was 1:0.9.

The agency said the number of suspected cases increased compared to the number reported for the same period in 2022.

The NCDC said a healthcare worker was affected in Week 11.

It said the National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral emergency operations centre, was activated to coordinate response activities at all levels.

It was gathered that the person-to-person transmission of Lassa fever can occur through contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of an infected person.

Lassa fever initially presents like other commonplace illnesses accompanied by fever, such as malaria.

Other symptoms include headache, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain and sore throat.

In severe cases, the symptoms include bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is three to 21 days.

Early diagnosis and treatment of the diseases greatly increase the chances of patient’s survival.

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