Nigeria records 230 Lassa fever cases, 49 deaths in 3 months

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Nigeria has recorded a total of 230 Lassa fever cases and 49 fatalities since the beginning of the year, statistics by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) show.

A Pulse analysis of situation reports published weekly for the first 12 weeks of 2021 show that a total of 14 states have recorded at least one positive case.

These cases were detected in a total of 51 local government areas across the affected states.

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The highest number of cases have been recorded in Edo with 102, followed by Ondo with 61, Taraba with 18, and Ebonyi with 15.

Bauchi and Plateau have recorded seven cases each, Kaduna has recorded six, and Enugu has recorded four.

Benue and Nasarawa have recorded three cases each, while Cross River, Kogi, Delta, and Abia have recorded one each.

Ondo has recorded the highest number of deaths with 18, followed by Edo with 12, Taraba with 11, and Kaduna with four.

Bauchi has recorded two deaths, and Ebonyi and Enugu have recorded one each.

A total of 1,430 samples have been tested across the country this year with patients testing negative for the acute viral haemorrhagic illness in 16 states.

Confirmed Lassa fever cases by States as of March 28, 2021 [NCDC]
Confirmed Lassa fever cases by States as of March 28, 2021 [NCDC]
The total number of confirmed cases recorded in the first three months significantly pale in comparison to the 932 cases recorded at the same period in 2020, the worst year on record for Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria.

However, this year’s 21.3% case fatality rate is deadlier than 2020’s 18.9%, with infection detected in 131 local government areas across 27 states at the end of the year.

Lassa fever infection can happen through contact with excreta or urine of rodents; contact with a probable or confirmed Lassa fever case within a period of 21 days of onset of symptoms; or any person with inexplicable bleeding/hemorrhagia.

Symptoms of Lassa fever include malaise, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalgia, chest pain, and hearing loss.

The NCDC said last year a large epidemiological study being implemented in Nigeria and other West African countries is expected to contribute to Lassa fever vaccine development.

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