The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said no fewer than 160 persons have died from Lassa Fever disease within the last 11 months in 22 states.
Communications Assistant, NCDC, Chimezie Anueyiagu, made this known yesterday in Abuja at a Media and Civil Society Organisation Advocacy meeting on Lassa Fever and CSM preparedness in Nigeria.
He explained that based on the data collected between January to November 11, 2018, the number of suspected cases of Lassa fever was 3,016, out of which 559 cases were confirmed positive, 17 were probable cases while 2,440 cases were confirmed negative.
“Since the outbreaks, there have been 143 deaths in confirmed cases and 17 death cases in probable cases. The case fertility rate is confirmed as 22.6 per cent.”
While explaining that probable cases were cases not tested but suspected to be a case of Lassa fever or possibly other diseases, he disclosed that the 22 states have recorded at least one confirmed case of Lassa fever across 90 local government areas.
The Lassa fever Team Lead, Mrs Elsie Ilori, who said there were ongoing plans to review the present guidelines as well as develop a 5-year strategic plan to enable the Centre meet up with the situations recorded in the states, lamented that the highest burden of Lassa fever was in Nigeria.
Ilori, who expressed the Centre’s fears that the Lassa fever vector might not just be rodent alone, also said the NCDC was collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on research to ascertain if there was another animal spreading the Lassa fever disease besides rodents.
“Animal to human infection is higher than human to human. We need to prove the numerous maybes, including the maybe that the vector (rodent) is different from what we think,” she said.
Reeling out current statistics on Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), Dr. Olaolu Aderinola, revealed that compared to 2017, there was a breakthrough in the rate of infections, as there was a massive drop in the number of cases reported.
Aderinola noted that between 2016 and 2017, there was a total of 14,542 CSM cases and 1,166 deaths recorded but between 2017 and 2018, the number of cases recorded was 3,467 and no fewer than 303 persons died as a result of the disease.
He further disclosed that out of the 25 states within the meningitis belt, the north was worst hit with 19 states grappling with the disease.