The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional 91 confirmed Lassa fever cases the week ending February 20, bringing the total confirmed cases in 2022 to 450.
Cumulatively from the beginning of the year, 86 deaths have been reported, with the addition of 21 last week, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 19.1%.
The number of confirmed cases in the first seven weeks of 2022 is more than a four fold increase compared to the same period in 2021 (102).
Lassa Fever is an acute viral illness and a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). The causative agent is a single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus in the family arenaviridae, the Lassa virus. This zoonotic disease is associated with high morbidity and mortality, transmitted by the multi-mammate rat (mastomys natalensis), one of the most common rats in equatorial Africa. The disease was first discovered in a town called Lassa in Borno State, Nigeria in 1969.
Lassa fever remains a major public health challenge in West Africa with Nigeria bearing the highest burden. Lassa fever occurs throughout the year but more cases are recorded during the dry season i.e. November through May.
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