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Nigeria records 200 deaths from Lassa fever so far in 2023

Nigeria has reported at least 200 deaths from Lassa fever in the past 11 months, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) despite intensified government measures to reduce infections.

The latest Lassa fever situation report released by the NCDC on Saturday reveals 1,170 confirmed cases across 114 local government areas in 28 states from the beginning of the year to December 3.

The country, with a total of 8,542 suspected cases, has a current case-fatality rate of 17.1%.

The NCDC is actively distributing medical response commodities to states and treatment centers, enhancing surveillance, and increasing community awareness as part of efforts to control the spread of the disease.

The recent rise in Lassa fever infections

In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a spike in Nigeria’s Lassa fever with 4702 suspected cases, 5 probable cases, and 877 confirmed cases by mid-April.

The majority of confirmed cases (72%) were clustered in three states: Ondo (32%), Edo (29%), and Bauchi (11%).

This necessitated the NCDC to activate Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) and Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ondo, and Taraba.

The control measures deployed by the NCDC include; the administration of antiviral drugs to confirmed cases, supportive care, and contact tracing to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus.

About Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, typically transmitted to humans through exposure to contaminated food or household items with the urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats.

The disease is endemic in parts of West Africa, and its symptoms, which can be like malaria, manifest between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus, causing fever, fatigue, weakness, and headache.

The WHO states that the overall regional and global risks are considered low because the primary mode of transmission of Lassa fever is zoonotic and the rate of human-to-human transmission is low.

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