Fresh Lassa fever outbreak raises concerns


Lassa fever has emerged as a cause for concern in 16 Nigerian states.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported 109 confirmed cases and 20 fatalities caused by lassa fever from February 26 to March 3. Humans contract this viral hemorrhagic sickness through direct contact with food or household objects contaminated by infected rats or contaminated individuals.


The symptoms of this condition encompass fever, headache, sore throat, overall bodily weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscular aches, chest discomfort, and, in extreme instances, inexplicable bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other bodily orifices.


The age group most commonly afflicted is between 31 and 40 years old, and the ratio of confirmed cases between males and females is roughly 1 to 0.9. The National Lassa Fever collaborative and comprehensive event management system has been put into action to organise and oversee the response at all levels through the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Benue, Ebonyi, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Rivers, Ogun, and Oyo are among the impacted states.


Interestingly, 62 percent of all verified cases are from the states of Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with the remaining 38 percent spread among the other stated states.

In the ninth week of 2024, Nigeria has documented 682 verified instances and 128 fatalities caused by lassa fever, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.8 percent.


The current CFR exceeds the rate recorded for the corresponding time in 2023, which was 16.1 percent. Continued efforts are being made to control the spread of the disease, and health officials are actively monitoring the situation in cooperation with the NCDC and medical centres.

By Nnaemeka Odenigbo

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