In a follow-up on the Lassa fever outbreak affecting several states in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports 68 Lassa fatalities since the outbreak began in mid-December 2016 through April 28.
In the current Lassa Fever outbreak, sixteen (16) States (Ogun, Bauchi, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ondo, Edo, Taraba, Nasarawa, Rivers, Kaduna, Gombe, Cross-River, Borno, Kano, Kogi and Enugu) have reported at least one confirmed case.
However, as of the end of April, Lassa is still active in nine states–Bauchi, Ondo, Edo, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Enugu.
In total, 164 Lassa cases have been reported with 149 cases being confirmed.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is zoonotic, or animal-borne.
Lassa fever is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. While Lassa fever is mild or has no observable symptoms in about 80% of people infected with the virus, the remaining 20% have a severe multisystem disease.
The animal host of Lassa virus is a rodent known as the “multimammate rat” of the genus Mastomys. Humans get infected with Lassa through aerosol or direct contact with excreta from the rodent. Laboratory infections do occur primarily through contaminated needles.
The symptoms of Lassa fever typically occur 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. These include fever, retrosternal pain (pain behind the chest wall), sore throat, back pain, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, facial swelling, proteinuria (protein in the urine), and mucosal bleeding. Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis.
The Lassa virus and was 1st described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria.
- Zimbabwe anthrax outbreak: 14 sickened, 1 death; linked to eating hippo
- Liberia undiagnosed illness cluster: More details
- Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs
- WHO update on Liberia outbreak, cause still unknown
- Mexico: Twenty cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted fever reported in Chihuahua
- Pakistan: Chickenpox outbreak claims 16 lives in past 4 months in Faisalabad
- ‘We expect this measles outbreak to grow substantially’: CIDRAP’s Osterholm
- Hepatitis A outbreak investigated in Lanarkshire, Possibly link to the JB Christie bakery