By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional 104 confirmed cases the week ending February 2, bringing the outbreak total for 2020 to 365 confirmed cases.

Image/Robert Herriman

Of this total, six additional fatalities were reported.

This brings the total to 365 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year, up from 294 the same period last year. The total deaths for 2020 is now 47.

New cases were reported last week from 15 states, with 23 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 74 Local Government Areas in 2020.

Three-quarters of the confirmed cases come from 3 states–Edo (35%), Ondo (35%) and Ebonyi (6%) states.

Delta state reported Lassa fever in one health care worker (HCW) last week, bringing the total HCWs affected to 10.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. It is transmitted to humans from contacts with food or household items contaminated with rodent excreta. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.

Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in the hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures. Diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential.

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, diarrheaconjunctivitis, facial swelling, proteinuria (protein in the urine), and mucosal bleeding. Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing losstremors, and encephalitis.

There is no vaccine currently available for Lassa fever.

The Lassa virus and was 1st described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria.