Lagos — A RAGING outbreak of the Lassa fever has killed at least 220 people in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
The tragedy exacerbates the crisis posed the West African country by the ongoing eruption of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Some 27 states- out of Nigeria's total of 36 states- have recorded at least once confirmed case of the Lassa fever, a diseases spread by rodents.
Most of the cases are in the western Ondo State, which accounts for 34 percent of the total number of 1 054 cases.
The states of Edo in the southwest and southeastern Ebonyi are also most affected with 32 percent and 7 percent of the caseload respectively.
The number of suspected cases around the country have significantly increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2019 when 651 cases were documented.
The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years.
Male and females are equally affected.
Nigeria has activated the National multisectoral Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response activities across states.
Lassa fever is usually spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of infected rats.
It can spread via direct contact between humans.
The disease is known endemic in Nigeria and many West African countries where sporadic cases are reported all year round.
Africa's most populous nation with more than 200 million people, Nigeria is also beset by the COVID-19.
Some 945 deaths have been confirmed from 46 577 cases.