The total number of confirmed cases of Lassa Fever in the country have increased to 531 after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the death of 85 people and 68 more cases.
Due to the nature of the disease (which spreads fast) neighbouring countries to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria where It is endemic, are also at risk.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.
On the reasons for the increase in fatality rate, the late presentation of cases, According to the agency is the major cause, the spread can also be narrowed to the poor health-seeking behaviour due to the high cost of treatment and clinical management of the disease and poor environmental sanitation conditions observed in high-burden communities.
A report from NCDC report read in part, “In week 6, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 106 in week 5 2023 to 68 cases. These were reported from Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Taraba, Ebonyi, Gombe, Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau States.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 6, 2023, 85 deaths have been reported with a CFR of 16.0 per cent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (16.5 per cent).
“In total for 2023, 20 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 79 Local Government Areas.”
The report also revealed that 74 per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi states while 26 per cent were reported from six states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.
“Of the 74 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 36 per cent, Edo 31 per cent, and Bauchi seven per cent.
“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 to 93 years, Median Age: 31 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.9.
“The number of suspected cases increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2022.
So far this year, 28 healthcare workers have been affected by the disease while four new healthcare workers were affected in the reporting week six.