Nigerian health officials reported an addition 16 Lassa fever cases during the most recent week, including two fatalities. The new confirmed cases were reported from five states – Edo(6), Ondo(4), Bauchi(2), Taraba(2) and Plateau(2) with the new deaths in Bauchi(1) and Taraba (1) states.
During the first quarter of 2019, 526 confirmed cases in 21 of the 36 Nigerian states have been reported. In addition, there have been 121 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 23 percent.
One new health care worker was affected in Plateau state. A total of seventeen health care workers have been infected since the onset of the outbreak in seven states. Two have died.
Lassa fever is spread primarily by rats. Rats that carry the Lassa fever virus live in homes and areas where food is stored. People usually become ill with Lassa fever after direct contact with rat droppings or urine and through touching objects or eating food contaminated with rat droppings or urine.
Lassa fever may also spread when a person comes into contact with an infected person’s blood, tissue, or body fluids, especially when that person is seriously ill.