Between August 2015 and 24 January 2016, 172 suspected and confirmed Lassa fever cases have been reported in Nigeria with 83 suspected and confirmed deaths (CFR 48%), according to Nigerian health officials.
The 4 most affected states are Bauchi, Edo, Oyo and Taraba, which account for 54% of the confirmed cases (n=54) and 52% of the reported deaths (n=34). The remaining 15 States have reported less than 5 confirmed cases.
To date, 4 health care workers were laboratory-confirmed for Lassa fever; of these 4 cases, 2 passed away. It is important to note that these cases are not considered as cases of hospital-acquired infection as no confirmed or suspected cases were reported in the 4 different health facilities where these health care workers were employed.
Nigeria’s neighbor to the west, Benin, has reported a confirmed Lassa fever case in the health zone of Tchaourou.
Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria and causes outbreaks almost every year in different parts of the country, with yearly peaks observed between December and February. The disease is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.
It is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa. Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in the hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures. Diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential.
Benin reported an outbreak of Lassa fever in 2014 and it was declared over in early 2015.
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