Lassa fever kills two in Kaduna, Ondo
Abuja hosts international disease confab Jan 16
Depite efforts of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to stop the dreaded Lassa fever outbreak, the disease has killed two persons in Kaduna and Ondo states.
It has also afflicted seven persons: one each in Edo, Plateau and Bauchi, as well as two each in Ondo and Kaduna.According to latest figures from the NCDC, from January 1 to December 9, 2018, of the 3,276 suspected cases reported, 588 were confirmed positive, 17 probable and 2,672 negative.
NCDC recorded 149 deaths in confirmed cases and 17 in probable cases, while Case Fatality Rate (CFR) in confirmed cases is 25.4 per cent.Chief executive officer of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told The Guardian yesterday that the outbreak might continue until Nigerians stop rats from getting in contact with food items.
“There is no magic wand. The virus is in a rat. As long as people are not taking precautions, they will continue to get infected. To stop Lassa fever, we have to stop the virus getting in contact with our foods,” the epidemiologist said.
Lassa fever, also known as Lassa haemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur, they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomitting and muscle pains. Less commonly, there may be bleeding from the mouth or gastrointestinal tract. The risk of death once infected is about one per cent and frequently occurs within two weeks of the onset of symptoms. Among those who survive, about a quarter have hearing loss, which improves over time in about half.
The disease was usually spread to people via contact with the urine or faeces of an infected multimammate rat. Spread can then occur via direct contact with people.
The centre disclosed that Lassa fever international conference is scheduled for January 16 to 17, 2019, with Lassa fever national multi-partner, multi-agency Technical Working Group (TWG), to coordinate response activities at all levels.