By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 30 confirmed Lassa fever cases the week ending March 14, bringing the country total to 191 for the year to date. These were reported from seven States (Edo, Ondo, Kaduna, Taraba, Ebonyi, Plateau and Bauchi)

Image/Robert Herriman

Officials also reported six deaths. From Jan 1 to Mar 14, 42 deaths from confirmed cases have been reported for a CFR of 22 percent.

Of all confirmed cases, 79% are from Edo (46%), Ondo (24%) and Taraba (9%) States.

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.

On January 28, the NCDC issued a Lassa fever public health advisory which offered the following advice to reduce the risk of Lassa fever:

  • Ensure proper environmental sanitation – i.e. keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entry.
  • Cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Communities should setup dump sites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes
  • Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize etc. containers which are well covered with tight fitting lids
  • Avoid drying food stuff outside on the floor, roadside where it will be exposed to contamination
  • Avoid bush burning which can lead to displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings
  • Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means
  • Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water /or use of hand sanitizers when appropriate
  • Visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, avoid self-medication
  • Healthcare workers are advised to practice standard precautions at all times: i.e. wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill patient/relative.
  • Healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever i.e. be vigilant and lookout for signs and symptoms of Lassa fever