Forty Two Deaths have been recorded in confirmed Lassa fever cases in the current outbreak ravaging the country. This is about 19.7 per cent fatality in confirmed cases.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on January 21 declared an outbreak of Lassa in Nigeria fever following an increase in the number of cases.
The Centre situation report for week four on the outbreak of the disease shows that from January 1 to 27, a total of 538 suspected cases were reported from 16 states. Of these, 213 were confirmed positive, two probable and 325 negative.
The states that have recorded at least one of the confirmed cases Edo-24, Ondo-28, Ebonyi-5, Bauchi-3, Plateau-5, Taraba-3, Gombe-1, Kaduna- 1, Kwara-1, FCT-1, Benue-2, Rivers-1 Kogi- 1 and Enugu-1. There were 12 new deaths including Edo-4, Ondo-2, Benue 1, Rivers 1, Plateau 2, Taraba 1 and Bauchi 1.
The reported cases represent a significant increase in the number of cases reported in the same period in 2018.
Four healthcare workers have been infected s far in the latest outbreaks, with the latest been in Enugu State.
Currently, 102 patients are being managed at various health centres across the country. This includes 34 patients at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment centre, 40 at the Federal Medical Centre Owo, five in Bauchi, eight in Plateau, Taraba (3), Ebonyi (6) and others states (6).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement said it has been assisting the federal government and NCDC in scaling up response to Lassa fever outbreak in states across Nigeria to strengthen rapid containment of the disease.
“WHO is mobilizing experts to intervene in investigations, contact-tracing, risk communication and plans are underway to strengthen efforts to further assist Nigeria in controlling the Lassa fever outbreak”, it said.
Peter Clement, WHO Officer in Charge for Nigeria (OIC), said with the outbreak confirmed, WHO intensified its technical assistance to state and federal authorities in investigation and response to the outbreak
“WHO reorganised its staff to provide assistance to each of the response pillars and directed field offices to assist in outbreak investigation, coordination and response activities at the state level.
“WHO is supporting coordination, enhanced surveillance, contact tracing, and risk communication. We are also mobilizing experts to support case management and detailed epidemiological analysis to monitor situation in the affected states.”
Through the polio infrastructure in the state field offices, WHO is also providing technical assistance and coordination of partners in the affected states.
The outbreak of Lassa fever has become a yearly occurrence in the country and this peaks from January to April. Last year, Nigeria recorded the highest reported cases in the history of the disease in the country.
The disease is treatable but often presented late to the health facilities. There is also hope for early diagnosis if samples are collected early as the country now has four reference laboratories where the virus can be detected.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, dizziness, sore throat, malaise, cough, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, hearing loss among others.
Lassa fever is transmitted from the excreta or urine of the multimammate rat. Anyone who is suspected of being in contact with a Lassa patient victim needs to be presented to the health facilities within a period of 21 days. ffffff