NCDC: Lassa Fever Has Killed 20 Across 16 States In One Week

An ecologist extracts a sample of blood from a Mastomys Natalensis rodent in the village of Jormu in southeastern Sierra Leone February 8, 2011. Lassa fever, named after the Nigerian town where it was first identified in 1969, is among a U.S. list of "category A" diseases -- deemed to have the potential for major public health impact -- alongside anthrax and botulism. The disease is carried by the Mastomys Natalensis rodent, found across sub-Saharan Africa and often eaten as a source of protein. It infects an estimated 300,000-500,000 people each year, and kills about 5,000. Picture taken February 8, 2011. To match Reuters-Feature BIOTERROR-AFRICA/ REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY ANIMALS) - GM1E72F07HC01

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said it registered new cases of Lassa fever and 20 deaths across 16 states in one week.

According to the NCDC, the period spans from February 26 to March 3.

The NCDC, via its official website, said that for week nine of 2024, there was an increase in the confirmed cases from 96, in week eight.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic (excessive bleeding) illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The agency said that despite the efforts, the country continued to face new cases and fatalities, underscoring the persistent threat posed by Lassa fever.

It disclosed that the country registered 109 casei n one week.

It stated , ‘‘Cumulatively, the report shows that from week one to nine, Nigeria recorded 682 confirmed cases and 128 deaths with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.8 per cent, which is higher than the CFR for the same period in 2023 which was 16.1 per cent.’’

It also noted that the number of suspected cases increased, compared to that reported for the same period in 2023, adding that eight new healthcare workers were affected in the reporting week 9.

The agency said that the states affected were Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Benue, Ebonyi, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Rivers, Ogun and Oyo states.

The situation report noted that 62 per cent of all the confirmed cases were reported from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi while 38 per cent were from 24 states with confirmed cases.

It stated that the predominant age group affected was 31 to 40 years, while the male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.9.

The public health agency said that the National Lassa Fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Incident Management System had been activated to coordinate response at all levels at the Emergency Operations Centre.

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