Edo, Ondo still lead in Lassa fever cases in Nigeria

Identifies 3,303 suspected cases

NOT LESS than six states across the Federation recorded 93 per cent of all confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the country, the Federal Government has disclosed.

This casualty figure (93 per cent) accounts for 241 persons in Edo State representing 37 per cent, followed by 192 casualties in Ondo representing 30 per cent and Ebonyi state with eight per cent, directly placed on the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) with 50 confirmed cases.

While Edo and Ondo states shot-up far beyond the acceptable CFR margin, Bauchi, Taraba and Plateau fall below the fatality rate. However, the three states have so far recorded 46, 40 and 35 confirmed casualties representing seven, six and five per cent respectively.

According to the latest Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Situation Report on the Lassa fever outbreak, most recent among the casualties were 11 confirmed cases reported from Edo (7), Ondo (3) and Bauchi (1) between 29th July and 4th August.

The report also notes that since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, 145 deaths have been recorded from the confirmed cases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes Lassa fever as a viral haemorrhagic fever transmittable to human through contacts with household items already contaminated with rodents urine or faeces.

“Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur…early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival,” it states.

Confirmed Cases of Lassa Fever in Six States in Nigeria as at 4th August 2019.
Infograph by Olugbenga Adanikin, The ICIR

Since the outbreak, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, NCDC, WHO and other international organisations have deployed awareness creation measures to sensitise the public on how best to prevent the infection.

Moreover, from 1st January to 4th August, the federal government noted that 3,303 suspected cases were reported from the 22 states placed under surveillance by the NCDC. “Of these, 651 were confirmed positive, 18 probable and 2,634 negatives,” the report states.

The states are Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Taraba, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna and Kwara.

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Others include Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi, Cross River and Zamfara States.

The affected pre-dominant age-group according to the report is between 21-40 years.

“In the reporting week 31, no new health care worker was affected. A total of eighteen health care workers have been infected since the onset of the outbreak in ten States – Edo (6), Ondo (4), Ebonyi (1), Enugu (1), Rivers (1), Bauchi (1), Benue (1), Delta (1), Plateau (1) and Kebbi (1) with two deaths in Enugu and Edo States

“Sixteen (16) patients are currently being managed at various treatment centres across the country: Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Centre (9), Federal Medical Centre, Owo (6) and Bauchi (1).

“A total of 8121 contacts have been identified from the nine states. Of these 745 (9.2%) are currently being followed up, 7,299 (89.9%) have completed 21 days follow up, while 12 (0.1%) were lost to follow up. 127 symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 65 (51.2%) have tested positive”. It states further.

On May, WHO, development partners and the NCDC announced the end of the emergency phase of the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria since it broke in 2018 killing 129 persons.

The incident led the Federal Government to activate Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) across the 21 states, recording 578 confirmed cases as at 26th May.

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