The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said no fewer than 40 Nigerians were killed in January and four health workers have been infected following the latest outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria, Saturday PUNCH reports.
This is as the disease control agency added that it was currently distributing medical response commodities to states and treatment centres.
Saturday PUNCH reports that Lassa fever, a disease which is endemic to Nigeria, occurs throughout the year but more cases were always recorded during the dry season.
The NCDC on its website specifically appealed to health workers to “maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever, be vigilant and look out for symptoms of Lassa fever. Not all fevers are malaria”, the disease control centre had said.
Since, the last outbreak of the disease in 2016, the NCDC noted that there had been an increase in the number of cases.
In 2019, the centre said 796 cases were reported, while in 2020, a total of 1,165 cases were confirmed at the peak of the pandemic.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Federal Government had announced the activation of emergency response over the disease.
The NCDC said the activation became necessary given the increase in the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases across the country.
For January, the centre stated that the 40 deaths and the 981 cases reported in January 2022 were across 43 local government areas in 14 states.
The centre noted, “Cumulatively from Week 1 to Week 4, 2022, 49 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 19.0 per cent.
In total for 2022, 14 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 43 local government areas. Of all confirmed cases, 82% are from Ondo (30%), Edo (27%) and Bauchi (25%) states.
“The predominant age-group affected is 21 30years (Range: 1 to 80 years, Median Age: 30years).
“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021”
The centre also noted that, “four health workers have been infected so far, 233 cases undergoing treatment, 617 cases undergoing contact tracing while 968 have been listed for follow up”.
The NCDC highlighted the states with suspected number of cases as Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Benue, Oyo, Taraba, Ebonyi, Kogi, Kaduna, Katsina, Ebonyi, Plateau, Cross River, Borno, Anambra, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Ogun, Kwara, Lagos, Delta, Gombe, FCT, Nasarawa, Rivers and Enugu.