By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional five confirmed Lassa fever cases last week, including one death, bringing the total confirmed cases/deaths for 2020 through the first week of the year to 1136 and 234 deaths.

Image/Robert Herriman

This is a drop in cases from the week prior when the NCDC reported 11 confirmed cases.

The case fatality rate hovers around 20 percent for the year.

On the 24th of January 2020, NCDC declared a Lassa fever outbreak and activated a national Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). In late April, officials declared the emergency phase of the 2020 Lassa fever outbreak over.

Lassa Fever is an acute viral illness and a viral haemorrhagic 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.

The actual incidence rate in Nigeria is unknown, but case fatality rates range from 3% to 42% (and over the last two years has remained between 20% and 25%). Historically, outbreaks occur during the dry season (November to April); however, in recent years, cases have also occurred during the rainy season. Lassa fever importation into non-endemic countries has occurred in the UK, USA, and Germany, amongst others.

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