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Nigeria: Lassa fever kills over 109 in 22 states

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Lassa fever has continued to spread in Nigeria with 676 confirmed cases recorded across 89 local government areas in 22 states in the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention made this known in its Lassa fever situation report for week nine spanning from January to March 5, 2023.

The report showed that the death toll has risen to 109, up from the previous 104.

With the current death toll, the public health institution noted that the case-fatality ratio of the outbreak stood at 16.1 per cent.

NCDC noted that 72 per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi while 28 per cent were reported from two states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.

Of the 72 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 33 per cent, Edo 29 per cent, and Bauchi 10 per cent.

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.

Poor environmental sanitation, poor awareness, and late presentation of cases are reported to fuel the epidemic in Nigeria.

“In week 9, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 59 in week 8 2023 to 40 cases. These were reported from Bauchi, Ondo, Taraba, Edo, and Ebonyi States.

“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 9, 2023, 109 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 16.1 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (18.6 per cent).

“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 to 93 years, Median Age: 32 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 10.8.

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

“One new Healthcare worker was affected in the reporting week nine,” the report read in part.

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