Fresh Lassa fever outbreak kills 24 in Nigeria

In Nigeria, at least 24 people have been killed in five states since the recent Lassa fever outbreak at the beginning of new year, according to officials.

Over 100 patients have also been quarantined in designated treatment centers across the country after infected with the disease caused by a virus from rodent urine.

On Friday, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in a statement on its website that the highest casualties were recorded in southwestern Ondo state with 16 deaths. There are also 84 cases reported.

In northeast Borno State, four cases were recorded and one of them died, according to Salihu Kwaya-Bura, the state health commissioner.

Two medical doctors and a pregnant woman died of the outbreak in northwestern Kano state, the state health commissioner Aminu Tsanyawa revealed.

World Health Organisation classifies Lassa fever as an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, an arenavirus emerging with contamination of foods by infected roddent urine.

Contact with infected person could also spread the disease and might be more severe, medical experts warned.

The disease was first discovered in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state in 1969 after a white missionary woman fell sick, according to the Health Ministry in Borno.

Lassa fever is endemic in many African countries — including Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Togo and probably northern part of Cameroon.

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