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Lassa fever death toll hits 104, cases now 636

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Lassa fever death toll hits 104, cases now 636

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The death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria so far this year has risen to 104, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its week eight Lassa fever situation report, the NCDC said there had been a total of 636 confirmed cases recorded from 22 and 88 local government areas since the beginning of the year.

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A total of 2,978 suspected cases were recorded from January to February 26, 2023.

With the current death toll, the public health institution noted that the case-fatality ratio of the outbreak stood at 16.4 per cent.

It added that the predominant age group affected in the country was 21 to 30 years, with the male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases being 10:9.

According to the World Health Organisation, Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.

Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.

Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in healthcare settings in the absence of adequate infection prevention and control measures.

The NCDC report read in part, “Seventy per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 30 per cent were reported from seven states with confirmed Lassa fever cases. Of the 70 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 33 per cent, Edo 28 per cent, and Taraba nine per cent.

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

“Four new healthcare workers were affected in the reporting week eight.”

The NCDC added that poor environmental sanitation and poor awareness conditions were observed in high-burden communities.