Lassa fever kills 171, NCDC warns on hygiene
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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has recorded eight additional Lassa fever infections and one death between September 5 and 11, 2022.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the NCDC, via its official website, said the new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases and deaths in the country to 917 and 171, respectively.
It disclosed that 25 states had recorded at least one confirmed case across 102 local government areas.
According to the NCDC, a total of 6,660 suspected cases have been reported in the country.
The public health centre disclosed that of the new confirmed cases, Ondo accounted for 32 per cent, Edo, 26 per cent, and Bauchi 13 per cent.
“In week 36 (September 5 to 11, 2022), the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 10 in week 35, 2022, to 8 cases. These were reported from Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, and Anambra States.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 36 in 2022, 171 deaths have been reported with a Case Fatality Rate of 18.6 people, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (23.3 per cent).
“The predominant age group affected is 21–30 years (range: 0–90 years, median age: 30 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.8.
“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021. There were no new healthcare workers affected in reporting week 36,” it said.
It said the National Lassa Fever Multi-Partner, Multi-Sectoral Technical Working Group has continued to coordinate the response activities at all levels.
“The country’s response activities continue in all areas, particularly in areas of state advocacy, personal protective equipment support, and laboratory diagnostics,” it added.
The NCDC said to reduce the risk of Lassa fever, Nigerians should ensure proper environmental sanitation—”that is, keep your environment clean at all times and block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entry.”
It advised Nigerians to cover dustbins and dispose of refuse properly.
“Communities should set up dumpsites far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes; store foodstuffs like rice, maize grits, beans, corn (maize), etc. in containers that are well covered with tight-fitting lids.
“Avoid drying foodstuff outside on the floor or roadside, where they will be exposed to contamination; avoid bush burning, which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes into human dwellings.”
“Eliminate rats in homes and communities by using rat traps and other methods; practise good personal hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap under running water or using hand sanitisers when appropriate, and visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, and avoid self-medication,” it advised.
NAN reports that Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus.
People usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of infected rats, which are present in several West African countries where the disease is endemic.
The virus can also be spread through infected bodily fluids.