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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Lassa Fever Kills 32 Within Three Weeks in Nigeria

The Lassa virus has its roots in Nigeria and it is named after the town in Bornu where the first case was identified in 1969

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Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga is a graduate of Mass Communication and aspiring investigative journalist.

NIGERIA: Around 32 persons have been confirmed dead in three weeks in Nigeria as a result of a surge in Lassa fever cases, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reports. Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by rats.

As per the reports, the cases have increased to 48 from 74 in the second week of 2022. 

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Health authorities in Nigeria on Wednesday said they have activated the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa fever emergency operations center in response to the recent Lassa fever outbreak in some parts of the country.

“This became necessary given the increase in the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases across the country and a joint risk assessment with partners and sister agencies,” said the NCDC in a statement.

The states affected by Lassa fever

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The Lassa virus has its roots in Nigeria and it is named after the town in Bornu where the first case was identified in 1969. The affected states are Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Oyo, Ebonyi, Benue, Katsina, Kaduna, and the Taraba States. 

NCDC further disclosed that cases were examined by Case Fatality Rate (CFR) which see that it rose from 18.8 percent to 25.0 percent within the same period. 

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From the first to the third week of 2022, 170 persons will be infected by Lassa Fever in 37 local government areas across 12 states, NCDC said. 

NCDC also reported that collectively Bauchi, Ondo, and Edo states accounted for 74 percent of the total infections. 

However, Edo and Ondo have 28 percent separately while Bauchi has 23 percent. 

NCDC also warned that there are about 759 suspected cases in 37 local government areas and 12 states. This is an indication that there is a serious rise in the issue of Lassa Fever in Nigeria when a comparison is done between 2021 and 2022. 

What is Lassa Fever? 

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic (excessive bleeding) illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with food, household items contaminated by infected rodents or persons, 

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

Symptoms of Lassa Fever 

The symptoms of Lassa Fever include but are not limited to fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and among others.

Also Read: Nigeria Records Spike in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Lassa Fever Surfaces

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