By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported six additional confirmed Lassa fever cases last week, bringing the country total to 247 cases this year to date.

50 deaths from confirmed cases, or 20 percent of the total, were reported.

In total for 2021, 14 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 52 Local Government Areas.

Of all confirmed cases, 79% are from Edo (44%), Ondo (28%) and Taraba (7%) States.

In addition, results of the largest prospective cohort study ever conducted on Lassa fever, known as LASCOPE (LASsa fever clinical COurse and Prognostic factors in an Epidemic context in Nigeria), which was conducted by a research team from ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action) and its partners, have been published in The Lancet.

The LASCOPE study has allowed researchers and medical experts to better understand the factors that contribute to the death of people infected with the Lassa virus. It comprehensively documented and analyzed the clinical and biological parameters of more than 500 patients suffering from the viral hemorrhagic fever, who were admitted to the Federal Medical Centre in Owo, in Nigeria’s Ondo State, between April 2018 and March 2020. By adopting an approach that integrates research, patient care, and infection prevention and control, the LASCOPE project provides valuable insight into designing future diagnostic tools, vaccines and therapeutic trials to find a more specific treatment.

“Lassa fever is a disease that is not well known,” said Dr. Marie Jaspard, an infectious disease specialist at ALIMA and lead LASCOPE researcher. “Previous studies have all been retrospective [based on the files of Lassa fever patients who had already been discharged from the health facility before the study began], making it harder to measure the case fatality rate and cause of death among Lassa patients. The findings from the LASCOPE study are very helpful because we now know that without early care, 12% of infected patients die, most from renal or hepatic failure, especially among the elderly. Going forward, this will allow us to identify at-risk patients, and more importantly, develop and evaluate effective treatments, in order to improve patients’ chances of survival.”