Lassa fever claims 98 in two months — NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said in its latest epidemiological report that Lassa fever killed 98 Nigerians in 15 states in the last two months.

The states with the fatalities are Ondo (30), Edo (17), Bauchi (10), Benue (8), Ebonyi (9), Taraba (7), Kogi (6), Enugu (2), Oyo (1), Gombe (2), Kaduna (2), Anambra (1), Kano (1), Katsina (1) and Cross River (1).

Also, 559 persons are currently undergoing treatment at treatment centres across the country, while 38 healthcare workers have been affected so far.

The report, which was obtained by The Nation, revealed that since the beginning of the year, l40 confirmed cases of Lassa fever were reported from 21 states and 79 local government areas.

A total of 90 confirmed new infections were reported in one week, between February 21 to 27, 2022. Also, in the said week, 12 deaths were recorded in six states: Ondo (3), Edo (3), Bauchi (1), Benue (1), Ebonyi (2), and Kogi (2).

The report further showed that of all confirmed cases, 73 per cent were from three states: Ondo (32 per cent), Edo (24 per cent) and Bauchi (17 per cent). The predominant age-group affected is between 21 to 30 years. The male to female ratio for confirmed cases was 1:0.8.

“In week 8 (February 21 to 27), the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 91 in week 7 (February 14 to 20) to 90 cases. These were reported from Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Gombe, Kogi, Ebonyi, Taraba, Enugu, Oyo, Benue, Plateau States and the FCT.

“Cumulatively, from week 1 to week 8, 2022, 98 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.1 per cent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (22.8 per cent),” the NCDC said.

“In total for 2022, 21 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 79 Local Government Areas. The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021.

“Five (5) new Healthcare workers were affected from Bauchi state in the reporting week 8. National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Emergency Coordination Centre (EOC) have been activated to coordinate response activities at all levels,” the NCDC said.

To reduce the risk of the spread of Lassa fever, the NCDC offers the following advice: Ensure proper environmental sanitation – that is, keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entry; Cover your dustbins and dispose of refuse properly. Communities should set up dumpsites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes; Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize, etc in containers that are well covered with tight-fitting lids.

Others are – Avoid drying foodstuffs outside on the floor, roadside where they will be exposed to contamination; Avoid bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings; Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means; Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water or use of hand sanitisers when appropriate; and visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, and avoid self-medication.


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