NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Ten additional confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported during the week ending December 19, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

This brings the total confirmed cases in 2021 to 454 with two weeks remaining.

The newest confirmed cases were reported from Edo (2), Ondo (4), Bauchi (3) and Ebonyi (1) states.

Three additional deaths were reported from the confirmed cases Bauchi (2) and Ebonyi (1), bringing the total for the year to 92.

Two cases were reported in health care workers in Ondo state.

In total for 2021, 17 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 66 Local Government Areas. Of all confirmed cases, 83% are from Edo (43%), Ondo (35%) and Taraba (5%) States.

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.

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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, feces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

3. Person to person transmission by contact with blood, urine, feces, vomitus, and other body fluids of an infected person.

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, diarrhea, 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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