By Temitope Owotoki
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 16 new cases of Lassa fever from five states in Nigeria.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer of the centre, stated this on Saturday while giving an update about the disease and efforts by the centre to check it.
He said the 16 new cases have now brought the number of confirmed cases to 526 out of the 2,034 suspected cases since January 1 in 21 states.
He also said that a total of 121 deaths had been recorded since the onset of the outbreak.
Ihekweazu said Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi and Cross River states have each recorded at least one confirmed case.
He also confirmed that one healthcare worker was affected in Plateau bringing it to a total of 17 healthcare workers in seven states since the outbreak of the disease.
The NCDC boss also said that 29 patients have been hospitalised at the designated centres.
He said that 10 were hospitalised in Irrua,Edo; 9 in Owo, Ondo; three in Abakiliki, Ebonyi; two in Bauchi, three in Plateau, two in Taraba.
Ihekweazu said 6,489 people suspected to have contacts with those infected had been identified across 20 states.
He said that 1,443 of the suspected contacts were being followed up, while 4,983 had completed the mandatory 21 days of follow up to and have been declared symptom free.
He also said that 112 symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 55 tested positive.
The NCDC boss assured that the National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre will continue to coordinate the response activities at all levels.