africa

Nigeria ends 2020 with 244 killed by Lassa fever


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed in its final situation report for 2020 that a total of 1,181 cases were recorded across the country.

This was significantly more than the 833 cases recorded throughout 2019 when 174 deaths were recorded.

At least one case of the acute viral haemorrhagic illness, caused by rodents, was recorded in 131 local governments across 27 states.

27 Nigerian states recorded at least one case of Lassa fever in 2020 [NCDC]

27 Nigerian states recorded at least one case of Lassa fever in 2020 [NCDC]

Six new cases and one death were recorded in the final week of 2020, according to NCDC’s Week 52 report.

Three of the cases, and the one fatality, were recorded in Ondo State, with Edo, Bauchi and Ebonyi recording one case each.

Throughout the year, Ondo recorded the highest number of cases with 423, closely followed by Edo (380), and Ebonyi (81).

Ondo also recorded the highest number of deaths with 83, followed by Edo with 40, and Ebonyi with 23.

Other states where Lassa fever cases were recorded are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Taraba.

Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo were the only states with confirmed cases but zero deaths.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, announced in April that the 2020 outbreak was the largest ever reported anywhere in the world.

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The 2020 Lassa fever outbreak is the worst ever recorded in Nigeria [NCDC]

The 2020 Lassa fever outbreak is the worst ever recorded in Nigeria [NCDC]

Lassa fever infection can happen through contact with excreta or urine of rodents; contact with a probable or confirmed Lassa fever case within a period of 21 days of onset of symptoms; or any person with inexplicable bleeding/hemorrhagia.

Symptoms of Lassa fever include malaise, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalgia, chest pain, and hearing loss.

The NCDC said last year a large epidemiological study being implemented in Nigeria and other West African countries is expected to contribute to Lassa fever vaccine development.



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