14 June 2019

Nigeria: Lassa Fever, Meningitis Wreak Havoc in Nigeria

Abuja — Outbreaks of Lassa fever and meningitis have killed about 200 people in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

There have been 130 deaths from confirmed cases of Lassa, which is caused by infected rats.

Some 22 states out of a total of 36 are grossly affected by Lassa fever.

The predominant age-group killed is 21-40 years.

A total of 18 health care workers have been infected since the onset of the outbreak, with two deaths.

Five patients are currently being managed at various treatment centres across the country:

The National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate response activities at all levels.

The National Emergency Operations Centre for Cerebrospinal Meningitis is also leading the response after at least 65 people died from this disease this year.

Some 15 states in the meningitis belt are on alert.

"Monitoring of situation continues across the high-risk states," said a health spokesperson.

Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges.

Lassa and meningitis are endemic in the West African country.

Nigeria intermittently suffers outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases.

It was also one of the countries worst affected by the deadliest Ebola ever when more than 11 000 people were killed in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.

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