In a follow-up on the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional 74 confirmed cases during the third week on the year.
This brings the total year-to date to 170 confirmed Lassa cases through January 23. This compares to 40 confirmed cases during the first three weeks of 2021.
The newest cases were reported from Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Oyo, Ebonyi, Benue, Katsina, Kaduna and Taraba States.
Eleven additional deaths from confirmed cases were also reported, bringing the total to 32.
Lassa Fever is an acute viral illness and a viral hemorrhagic 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.
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.