127 people from 23 states in Nigeria dead from Lassa Fever


Twenty-three states of the Federation have reported at least one confirmed case of the Lassa Fever with a death toll of 127 reported so far, says the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in a situation report which it released on Friday and made available to Saturday Punch in Abuja.

The centre listed the 23 states as Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Kogi, Ebonyi, Benue, Taraba, Oyo, Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa, Plateau, Anambra, Delta, Kaduna, FCT, Cross River.

Others are Adamawa, Niger, Kebbi, Kano, Katsina and River states.

Saturday PUNCH reports that Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arena virus family of viruses. Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats

The NCDC appealed to health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever through vigilance, and look out for symptoms of the disease, adding that not all fevers were malaria.

Since the last outbreak of the disease in 2016, the centre noted that there had been an increase in the number of recurring cases. In 2019, the centre noted that a total of 796 cases were reported, while in 2020, a total of 1,165 cases were confirmed.

In the latest situation report by the disease control centre, it was noted that a total of 127 deaths were reported between January 1 to March 27,2022. It was also noted that 3,542 suspected cases had been reported so far.

The NCDC stated, “In total for 2022, 23 states across 91 local government areas have recorded at least one confirmed case. Of all confirmed cases, 68 per cent are from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states.

“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years. The number of suspected cases has since increased to that reported for the same period in 2021.”

 The centre said the Federal Ministry of Environment was implementing a Lassa fever environmental response campaign in high burden states.

It added, “Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria. 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.”