By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Through the week ending Dec. 12, Nigerian health officials have reported a total of 1163 confirmed Lassa fever cases, of which, 241 were fatal cases, or 20.7 percent.

This includes the five confirmed cases and one death reported last week. One new healthcare worker (HCW) was affected last week, bringing the HCW total to 47.

In total for 2020, 27 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 130 Local Government Areas.

Of the 241 deaths in confirmed cases, 80 were reported in Ondo state, followed by 40 in Edo state and 23 in Ebonyi state.

On the 24th of January 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (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.

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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.