Lassa Fever: 784 Confirmed Cases, 142 Deaths

by John Ojewale
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NCDC - Lassa fever cases

The number of Lassa fever deaths in Nigeria has risen to 142 so far this year. This is the statistics according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In its Week 11 Lassa Fever Situation Report, the NCDC said it had a total of 784 confirmed cases from 23 states and 97 local government areas since the beginning of the year. From January to 19 March 2023, a total of 3,826 suspected cases were registered. With the current death toll, Public Health noted that the outbreak’s fatality rate is 18.1%. Furthermore, the main age group affected in the country is 21 to 30 years old. The current rate is at a 10:9 male-to-female ratio of confirmed cases.

According to the World Health Organisation, Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.

Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria. However, it is probably rampant in other West African countries as well.

The report read in part-

“In Week 11, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 70 in Week 10, 2023 to 38 cases. These were reported from Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Taraba, Benue, Rivers, Plateau, and Nasarawa states.

“Cumulatively, from Week 1 to Week 11, 2023, 142 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 18.1 per cent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (18.7 per cent).

“In total for 2023, 23 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 97 local government areas.

“Seventy-one of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 29 per cent were reported from six states with confirmed Lassa fever cases. Of the 71 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 32 per cent, Edo 29 per cent, and Bauchi 10 per cent.”

The report also showed that one new healthcare worker was affected in the reporting Week 11. The number of suspected cases increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2022.


cc: Punch Ng

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