The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Thursday, confirmed that no fewer than 143 persons died of Lassa fever disease within the last 11 months in 22 states.
The Communications Assistant, NCDC, Mr Chimezie Anueyiagu, made the revelation while presenting the situation report on the disease at the Media and Civil Society Organisation Advocacy meeting on Lassa fever in Abuja.
Anueyiagu explained that based on collated data between January and Nov. 11, the number of suspected cases of Lassa fever was 3,016.
He said that of the number, 559 cases were confirmed positive, with 17 observed as probable cases while 2,440 cases were confirmed negative.
”Since the outbreaks, there have been 143 deaths in confirmed cases and 17 probable cases. The rate of fatality cases is confirmed as 22.6 per cent.
”The 22 states have recorded at least one confirmed case of Lassa fever across 90 local government areas,” he said.
The communication assistant however did not disclose the affected states
Anueyiagu explained that probable cases were cases not tested but suspected to be cases of Lassa fever or possibly other diseases.
NCDC’s Deputy Director, Elsie Ilori, said that there were ongoing plans to review the present guidelines as well as develop a five-year strategic plan to tackle Lassa fever in Nigeria.
IIori said that the review was to enable the centre to meet up with the situations recorded in the states, and lamented that Nigeria had the highest burden of the disease.
The deputy director expressed fears that the vector of the disease might not just be rodents alone.
He however, noted that the NCDC was collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on research to ascertain if there was another animal spreading the virus.
Dr. Olaolu Aderinola, NCDC’s Assistant Director, said that compared to 2017, there was a tremendous drop in the number of reported cases because of some breakthroughs.
Aderinola disclosed that between 2016 and 2017, there were 14,542 CSM cases with 1,166 recorded deaths, while between 2017 and 2018 the number of cases recorded was 3,467 with about 303 deaths.