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NCDC worries as Lassa fever cases surpasses 2021



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said  a total of 123 deaths resulting from Lassa fever had been reported between January 1 and March 20, 2022. The center also indicated that the number of suspected cases of Lassa fever reported so far this year surpasses what was reported for the same period last year 2021.

Since the last outbreak of the disease in 2016, the centre noted that there had been an increase in the number of recurring cases. In 2019, the centre noted that a total of 796 cases were reported, while in 2020, a total of 1,165 cases were confirmed.

The NCDC urged health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever through vigilance, and look out for symptoms of the disease, adding that not all fevers were malaria.

So far in 2022, a total of 3,316 suspected cases have been reported from 91 local government areas across 23 states of the federation.

“In total for 2022, 23 states across 91 local government areas have recorded at least one confirmed case. Of all confirmed cases, 68 per cent are from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states, the NCDC stated.

“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years. The number of suspected cases has since increased to that reported for the same period in 2021.”

The centre said the Federal Ministry of Environment was implementing a Lassa fever environmental response campaign in high burden states.

It added, “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 infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is three to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival.”