By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Nigerian health officials reported an additional 102 confirmed Lassa fever cases, bringing the total to 689 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year through Feb. 23. This is a slight decrease in cases from the prior week.

The total Lassa fever cases during the first seven weeks of 2020 is nearly double what was reported during the same period in 2019 (381). The new cases were reported from 18 states.

Thirteen additional deaths were also reported, bringing the total to 118 for about a 17 percent fatality rate.

So far this year, confirmed cases have been reported in 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Blood flukes in Black and White

Four new health care workers were affected in Edo and Ondo states, bringing this total to 26.

Lassa fever is spread primarily by rats. Rats that carry the Lassa fever virus live in homes and areas where food is stored. People usually become ill with Lassa fever after direct contact with rat droppings or urine and through touching objects or eating food contaminated with rat droppings or urine.

The World’s Deadliest Viruses

Lassa fever may also spread when a person comes into contact with an infected person’s blood, tissue, or body fluids, especially when that person is seriously ill.