The Nigerian society has been bedevilled by Lassa fever, an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons. Lassa fever, which has reportedly creeped into Nigeria since February, has kept Nigerians and the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on their toes. According to the agency, within one week, there have been fifteen (15) new cases and one death in the country.


When comparing the reporting week to the same period in 2023, the NCDC observed an increase in the number of suspected cases, despite a decline in the number of confirmed cases from 25 in Week 12 to 15 in the recent report. The cumulative case fatality rate (CFR) for the thirteenth week of the outbreak was 18.6%, which was higher than the CFR for the corresponding period in 2023 (17.5%). During this period, the country recorded 806 confirmed cases and 150 fatalities.


Assisting the Emergency Operations Centre in coordinating response at all levels, the National Lassa Fever Multi-Partner, Multi-Sectoral Incident Management System has been activated, noted the NCDC. In addition to the delayed presentation of cases, which results in an elevated CFR and suboptimal health-seeking behaviour, the NCDC identified several obstacles in the fight against Lassa fever. The latter was attributed to the exorbitant expenses associated with Lassa fever treatment and clinical management, in addition to inadequate environmental sanitation and a lack of awareness in communities with the highest burden.


As of 2024, across 125 local government areas, at least one confirmed case has been documented in twenty-five states. A total of 62% of confirmed cases were documented in the states of Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with 24% occurring in Ondo State, 22% in Edo, and 16% in Bauchi, according to the report. During the reporting week, no health care worker contracted the infection, and those between the ages of 31 and 40 comprised the majority of those infected, according to the report.


By Chidimma NWAFOR

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