According to the latest report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria has risen to 151, an increase from the previous figure of 148.
The report reveals that there have been a total of 869 confirmed cases of Lassa fever in 26 states and 101 local government areas from January 1 to April 9, 2023, with 4,555 suspected cases recorded during the period under review. The case-fatality ratio of the outbreak currently stands at 17.4 per cent.
The predominant age group affected by the outbreak was 21-30 years, and the male-to-female ratio for the confirmed cases was 10:9. Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, which humans usually contract through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats.
The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa and is known to be endemic in several West African countries.
The report also highlights that 71 per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from three states: Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, while the remaining 29 per cent were reported from other states with confirmed Lassa fever cases. Ondo reported 32 per cent of confirmed cases, Edo 28 per cent, and Bauchi 11 per cent. The number of suspected cases has increased compared to the same period in 2022.
Given the severity of Lassa fever and its high case-fatality ratio, Measures such as promoting good hygiene practices, educating the public on how to avoid exposure to the virus, and providing necessary medical care and support to affected individuals can help to mitigate the impact of the outbreak.