The death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria this year has risen to 155 amid government measures to reduce infections across the country, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said.
The public health agency said there have been 782 confirmed cases of the disease, with 4,939 suspected cases since the beginning of this year, Xinhua news agency reported.
With the 155 deaths recorded as of early June, the NCDC said the case fatality rate in the country is at 19.8 per cent, which is lower than the 20.2 per cent recorded for the same period in 2021. And 24 states have recorded at least one confirmed case this year, with three states — Ondo, Edo and Bauchi — accounting for 68 per cent of all confirmed cases.
According to the World Health Organization, Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.
In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms to malaria, appearing between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus. In mild cases, the disease causes fever, fatigue, weakness, and headache.
The NCDC said it remained committed to supporting state public health teams to achieve the goal of reducing the Lassa fever case fatality rate to a single digit.
The disease control agency said it is currently distributing medical response commodities to states and treatment centers as part of measures to control the spread of the disease.