Nigeria recorded its worst week for Lassa fever in 2021 with the detection of 17 new cases and 6 deaths.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed in its latest situation report that the six deaths were recorded in Ondo (3), Edo (2), and Taraba (1) between February 8 and February 14.

The 17 new cases reported were also recorded in the same states with 10 in Edo, five in Ondo, and two in Taraba.

A total of 91 cases were suspected including in Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Lagos, and Kogi where people tested negative.

Nigeria has now recorded 83 Lassa fever cases and 19 deaths this year, with cases detected in 27 local government areas across eight states.

Edo has recorded the highest number of cases with 42, followed by Ondo with 22, Taraba with 10, and Bauchi with three.

Plateau and Ebonyi have recorded two each, while Nasarawa and Akwa Ibom have recorded one each.

Ondo has recorded the highest number of deaths with eight, followed by Taraba with five, Edo with four and Bauchi with two.

Lassa fever infection can happen through contact with excreta or urine of rodents; contact with a probable or confirmed Lassa fever case within a period of 21 days of onset of symptoms; or any person with inexplicable bleeding/hemorrhagia.

Symptoms of Lassa fever include malaise, fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, myalgia, chest pain, and hearing loss.

The NCDC said last year a large epidemiological study being implemented in Nigeria and other West African countries is expected to contribute to Lassa fever vaccine development.