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Nigerian health officials reported an additional 58 confirmed Lassa fever cases during the first week of February, bringing the total confirmed cases to 294 during the first five weeks of 2022.

Image/Robert Herriman

The latest cases were reported from Ondo, Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Taraba, Enugu, Ebonyi, Nasarawa and Anambra States.

The death toll among confirmed cases have risen by six, bringing the total to 48.

In total for 2022, 17 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 59 Local Government Areas.

75% of the total cases have been reported from three states- Ondo (32%), Edo (24%) and Bauchi(19%).

Three additional cases were reported in health care workers during the week ending February 6.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by rodents infected with the Lassa fever virus. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in a hospital environment with inadequate infection control measures. Like several other countries in West Africa, the disease is endemic in Nigeria and is often recorded during the dry season, often between November and May.

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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 infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival.

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