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Nigeria on Wednesday witnessed an additional 11 deaths from the ongoing Lassa fever outbreak, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has disclosed.

This brings the number of total deaths recorded from the ongoing outbreak to 132.

NCDC said in its situation report for last week that though cases are on a decline, Nigeria recorded 85 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths.

Nigeria in the last ten weeks has been battling the scourge of the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria.

Although news of the Lassa outbreak in the country has been overshadowed by the new coronavirus outbreak, Nigeria is still monitoring and responding to the disease.

NCDC said for the reporting week nine, a total of 421 suspected cases, 85 were confirmed and 11 deaths reported from 30 local governments in nine states.

These states are Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Taraba and Kebbi.

It said the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 102 cases in week eight, to 85 cases in week nine.

Cumulatively

Cumulatively, for week one to nine, a total of 3054 suspected cases, 775 confirmed cases, nine probable and 132 deaths have so far been reported from 118 local governments in 27 states.

In comparison with previous year, there have been more suspected, confirmed and death cases reported for the same period this year.

Cumulatively from week one to week nine, this year, 3054 suspect cases, 775 confirmed and 132 deaths have been reported as against 1374 suspected cases, 420 confirmed and 93 deaths for the same period in 2019.


Of all confirmed cases, 73 per cent are from Edo (34 per cent ), Ondo (32 per cent) and Ebonyi (7 per cent ) states.

Also, the predominant age-group affected is 21-30 years and the male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1.2.

One new healthcare worker was affected in Edo State in the reporting week. This brings the total number of health workers so far affected since the beginning of outbreak to 27.

Outbreak

Lassa fever has become an epidemic in Nigeria and with increasing cases during the dry season from November to May.

The vector of the disease is a rat specie called the multimammate rat. The virus is transmitted from the excreta or urine of the vector to humans, and humans and to humans which often propagate the disease.

Anyone suspected of being in contact with a Lassa patient needs to be presented to the health facilities within a period of 21 days.

Symptoms of the disease at early stages is similar to febrile illness such as malaria.

General 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, vagina, anus and other body orifices. It could also present persistent bleeding from sites of intravenous cannulation.

Early diagnosis and treatment increase a patient’s chances of survival.

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