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Lassa fever spreads to 20 states, kills 142 with 400 confirmed cases

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• NCDC confirms first case, fatality in Abia
• Two health workers affected with one death in a week
• NEMA alerts on meningitis outbreak in FCT, others

The current Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has spread to 20 states leaving 142 dead and 400 confirmed cases.This is compared to the figures released on March 25, 2018, which showed 134 deaths and 394 confirmed cases in 19 states meaning there are eight more deaths, six more confirmed cases and the virus has spread to a new state – Abia.

Latest figures released yesterday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for Week 13 (March 26- April 01, 2018) indicate six new confirmed cases were recorded in five states – Edo (two), Ondo (one), Bauchi (one), Plateau (one) and Abia (one) with two new deaths in confirmed cases from Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja (one) and Abia (one).

According to the NCDC report, from January 1 to April 1, 2018, a total of 1,706 suspected cases have been reported and of these, 400 were confirmed positive, nine are probable, 1,273 are negative (not a case) and 24 are awaiting laboratory results (pending).

It noted that since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 142 deaths: 97 in positive-confirmed cases, nine in probable cases and 36 in negative cases; and the case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 24.3 per cent.The latest NCDC report indicates that 20 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 57 local councils (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau, Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, FCT, Gombe, Ekiti, Kaduna and Abia). Eight states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 12 states remain active.

Also, in the reporting week 14, two new healthcare workers were affected with one death and twenty-five health care workers have been affected since the onset of the outbreak in eight states.

The NCDC noted that 81 per cent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (42 per cent) Ondo (23 per cent) and Ebonyi (16 per cent) states and 30 cases are currently under treatment in treatment centres across nine states -Edo (nine), Ebonyi (six), Bauchi (seven), Ondo (five), Plateau (one), Osun (one) and Kogi (one).

The report noted that 4,274 contacts have been identified from 20 states and of these, 662 (15.0 per cent) are currently being followed up, 3,605 (84.8 per cent) have completed 21 days follow up while 7(0.2 per cent) were lost in follow up. 27 (40 per cent) of the 67 contacts have tested positive in five states (Edo-12, Ondo- seven, Ebonyi- three, Kogi -3 and Bauchi -one).

In another development, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has advised the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents to take measures to avert outbreak of meningitis.Head of NEMA Abuja Operations, Samuel Bitrus, gave the warning during a stakeholders’ roundtable conference for awareness and sensitisation campaign on cerebrospinal meningitis.He disclosed that the FCT is one of the states at risk of the disease.adding that about 12 cases were recorded in Abuja in 2017, hence the need to increase awareness so as to curtail the outbreak in 2018.

Also, Senior Public Health Specialist, Emergency Management Center For Disease Control, Dr. Muhammad Saleh, noted that northeastern, western and central states are at high risk of the epidemic, adding that individuals living in those states should take preventive measures such that when the disease is noticed,people should seek medical attention in the nearest health facilities.


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