By Sola Ogundipe
No fewer than 40 persons died of Lassa fever within the first four weeks of 2022 in 43 Local Government Areas across 14 States of the country, out of a total of 211 persons that were confirmed infected within the period.
Disclosing this in its latest Lassa fever Situation Report Epi Week 4:24 – 30 January, 2022, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, observed that there were 981 suspected cases against 507 cases recorded within the same period in 2021.
According to the agency, in week 4, January 24 – 30, 229 suspected cases were recorded, 42 confirmed while six fatalities occurred.
The affected states include Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Enugu, and Delta States. Cumulatively from week 1 to week 4, 2022, 40 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 19.0 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (22.2 per cent).
The statement showed that the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 74 in week 3, 2022 to 42 cases in week 4.
These were reported from Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Enugu and Delta States.The NCDC stated that each of the 14 States recorded at least one confirmed case across 43 Local Government Areas.“Of all confirmed cases, 82 per cent are from Ondo (30 percent), Edo (27 percent) and Bauchi (25 percent) States.
Most of those affected are aged 21-30 years, with a male to female ratio for confirmed cases of 1:0.8.
The agency observed that the number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021, even as no new healthcare worker was affected in the reporting week 4.
The agency has activated its Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Emergency Coordination Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response. Lassa fever is a hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus.
The animal reservoir is the rodent “multimammate rat” (Mastomys natalensis); transmission to humans occurs via contact with infected rodent urine and faeces and via person-to-person contact.