Nigeria: Lassa Fever - Nigerian Disease Centre Says 118 People Killed in 2020

Lassa fever public health advisory.
27 February 2020

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that at least 118 people have been killed by the outbreak of Lassa fever in just eight weeks.

In its situation report on the disease, NCDC explained that the figure covered between January 1 and February 23.

No fewer than 2,633 cases of Lassa fever have been reported since the beginning of the year, out of which 689 cases were confirmed to be positive.

The cases were reported in 115 local government areas from 27 states of the Federation.

In the eighth week - February 17-23 - which the latest NCDC report focused on, 102 of 456 reported cases from 46 local government areas from 18 states were confirmed.

The states are; Ondo, Ebonyi, Edo, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Lagos, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Taraba, Delta, Rivers, Adamawa, and Nasarawa.

A total of four new healthcare workers were also affected in Edo and Ondo States in the reporting week.

The NCDC confirmed that the number of suspected cases has significantly increased compared to the figure reported for the same period in 2019.

Government battles on

Federal Government in January expressed its determination to stop the spread of Lassa fever.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, told reporters in Abuja that the government had heightened response against the current Lassa fever outbreak across the country.

He said his ministry had the capacity to detect, assess and respond to coronavirus and other public health threats.

That not withstanding, four people died of Lassa fever in Kaduna on 23rd of Febraury, state officials say.

Kaduna health commissioner Amina Baloni says two others infected were hospitalised at the Infectious Disease Control Centre ( IDCC).

The latest case is a 40-year-old male recorded last Friday at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria Teaching Hospital and now receiving treatment at the (IDCC).

Kaduna has recorded a total eight confirmed infections out of the 74 suspected to be Lassa fever.

Way forward

The Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owner and Practitioners (AWDROP) wrote to the Federal Government through Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, revealing how to tackle the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.

AWDROP, in a letter submitted to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Mua'zu Abdul-Kadir, by its National President, Micheal Ale, noted that non-availability of portable water in many rural areas had contributed to the spread of Lassa fever.

"Without access to clean and sustained water, the issue of food security is threatened and this may also lead to different other vices, like reduction in work force efficiency and malnutrition; unhealthy hygiene leading to several diseases like diarrhea, Lassa fever and other health issues, thus affecting people mostly in the disadvantaged rural community, also, by extension the farmers that are known to produce much needed food for National food security and sustained GDP growth," the letter partly read.

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