By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional four confirmed Lassa fever cases the week ending September 12, including three deaths among the confirmed cases.

This brings the cumulative total confirmed cases this year to 369, including 76 deaths (20.6% CFR).

In total for 2021, 14 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 62 Local Government Areas.

Nearly 85 percent of the confirmed cases have been reported from three states: Edo (45%), Ondo (34%) and Taraba (5%).

In 2020, 1078 confirmed cases and 225 deaths were reported during the same period.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir for the virus is the Mastomys natalensis rodent (commonly known as the multimammate rat).

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.

Lassa fever is spread through:

1. Direct contact with urine, faces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

2. Contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food, contaminated with urine, feces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

3. Person to person transmission by contact with blood, urine, feces, vomitus, and other body fluids of an infected person.

Signs and symptoms of Lassa fever:

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, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increases the chances of survival.

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