NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 48 confirmed Lassa fever cases in the first week of 2022. This is up from 28 cases reported the last week of 2021.

Two fatalities were reported, putting the case fatality rate at 4.2 percent.

Bauchi (14), Edo (13) and Ondo (11) states accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total confirmed cases during the first week.

Nigeria reported 510 total confirmed Lassa fever cases and 102 fatalities in all of 2021.

A confirmed case is a suspected case with laboratory confirmation (positive IgM antibody, PCR or virus

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir for the virus is the Mastomys natalensis rodent (commonly known as the multimammate rat).

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.

Lassa fever is spread through:

1. Direct contact with urine, faces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

2. Contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food, contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

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Signs and symptoms of Lassa fever:

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, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increases the chances of survival.

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