Lassa fever – Nigeria
Lassa fever has continued to spread in Nigeria, with 1,038 confirmed cases and 183 deaths across 111 local government areas and 27 states in the country.
This is according to the week 50 Lassa fever situation report obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
The report, which showed that there were 7,981 suspected cases of the infection as of December 18, up from the previous 7,907, also revealed that Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi states bore 75 per cent of the burden of the disease.
Photo: Lassa fever virus – Electron micrograph
Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. Many of those infected by the virus do not develop symptoms but for 1 percent of those infected, death occurs in the first two weeks. The disease is usually initially spread to people via contact with the urine or feces of an infected mouse. Spread can then further continue between people.
There is no vaccine. Prevention requires isolating those who are infected and decreasing contact with mice.
Descriptions of the disease date from the 1950s. The virus was first described in 1969 from a case in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria. Lassa fever is relatively common in West Africa.
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