Nigeria: Lassa Fever - Nigeria's Death Toll Reaches 70

A transmission electron micrograph of a number of Lassa virus virions adjacent to some cell debris. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, causes Lassa fever.
12 February 2020

The Lassa fever death toll has risen to 70, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian health agency, in its weekly situation report on the status of the disease, said since the beginning of the year, more suspected and confirmed cases have been reported.

In the reporting week, it said there were 482 suspected cases of the disease with 104 new confirmed cases and eight deaths reported.

The number of new confirmed cases increased from 104 cases in week five to 109 cases.

Of these, four new health workers were affected in Ondo, Delta and Kaduna states in the reporting week six.

The total Lassa cases were reported from 19 states - Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Delta, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Enugu, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Rivers, Katsina, Benue, Adamawa, Sokoto and Oyo.

Spike

This latest statistics implies that there is an increasing spread of the disease across the country.

From January 1 to February 9, Nigeria recorded 1708 suspected cases, with 472 confirmed cases, four probable cases and 70 deaths from 92 local government areas in 26 states.

NCDC said, cumulatively, from week one to week six, 70 deaths had been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 14.8 per cent.

Of these, 74 per cent of all confirmed cases were recorded in three states: Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi.

These three states, in the last few years, have been topping the Lassa fever chart in the country. This has been raising concerns among health experts and scientists who believe the government is not seeking a serious solution to curbing the disease.

Predominantly among the age group infected are those between 21-30 years. Also, the male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1.2, same as previous week.

For week six, there has been a significant increase in the number of suspected cases compared to that reported for the same period in 2019.

Scourge

Nigeria since the beginning of the year has been battling with the scourge of the Lassa fever outbreak which has now been reported in 26 states.

There has been a spike in the number of new confirmed cases in this reporting week compared to the last four consecutive weeks.

The disease has become an epidemic in the country as it has become a year-round outbreak with cases rising from November and peaking by May.

The disease though treatable, still records a high number of deaths and confirmed cases.

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