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Lassa Fever: Death toll hits 92, as new deaths recorded in Bauchi, Ebonyi

The death toll from Lassa Fever in Nigeria has risen to 92 since January 2021, with additional deaths reported in Bauchi and Ebonyi States.

In its latest situation report on the illness epidemic in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed this on Tuesday.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, three additional deaths were reported in week 50, which ran from December 13 to December 19.

While there were two new deaths in Bauchi, there was just one new death in Ebonyi.

“Cumulatively from Week 1 to Week 50, 2021, 92 deaths have been reported with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 20.3 per cent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2020 (20.7 per cent),” it stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lassa fever is an acute viral illness and a viral haemorrhagic fever first reported in the Lassa community in Borno when two missionary nurses died from an unusual febrile illness.

Since then, Nigeria has continued to report cases and outbreaks and the disease is increasingly recognised to be endemic in many parts of West Africa such as Benin Republic, Ghana, Mali and the Mano River region (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).

The agency noted that a total of 190 new cases were suspected in 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but just 10 cases were confirmed in four states.

Amongst others were; Edo – two, Ondo – four, Bauchi – three, and Ebonyi – one, and two of them are healthcare workers.

The number of new confirmed cases, the agency stated, is the same as the figure reported in the previous week.

“In total for 2021, 17 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 66 Local Government Areas,” it said.

“Of all confirmed cases, Edo has (43 per cent), Ondo (35 per cent), and Taraba (five per cent).

“The predominant age group affected is between 21 and 30 years (range: 1 to 70 years, Median Age: 29 years). The male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.9. The number of suspected cases has decreased compared to that reported for the same period in 2020,” it added.

Lassa virus is transmitted to man by infected multi-mammate rats and humans become infected from direct contact with the urine and faeces of the rat carrying the virus.

People also contract the disease by touching soiled objects, eating contaminated food, or exposure to open cuts or sores.

Secondary transmission from person to person can also occur as a result of exposure to the virus in the blood, tissue, urine, faeces or other bodily secretions of an infected patient.9

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