Nigerian health authorities have reported 211 confirmed Lassa fever cases in the first month of the year, including 40 deaths from confirmed cases. This is 4-times the confirmed cases reported during the first four weeks of January 2021.
This includes 42 confirmed cases and six deaths reported during the last week of January.
In total for 2022, 14 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 43 Local Government Areas.
Of all confirmed cases, 82% are from Ondo (30%), Edo (27%) and Bauchi (25%) States.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by rodents infected with the Lassa fever virus. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in a hospital environment with inadequate infection control measures. Like several other countries in West Africa, the disease is endemic in Nigeria and is often recorded during the dry season, often between November and May.
Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria. Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings. The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival.