The World Health Organisation in a statement on Monday, April 5, 2016 have associated the late diagnosis of the Lassa fever as the key killer of those infected with the virus.
WHO listed the total number of cases in West Africa to be 300 with over 160 person killed by the virus.
“Lassa fever has killed more than 160 people in West Africa, most of them in Nigeria, since November 2015. Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Togo have reported more than 300 cases of Lassa fever and 167 deaths.
“Nigeria accounts for the majority of the cases with 266 cases and 138 deaths reported in 22 of the country’s 34 provinces as at 21 March 2016. Benin has recorded 51 cases and 25 deaths. Many of these lives could have been saved if a rapid diagnostic test were available so that people could
Pieere Formenty, WHO representative emphasized on the need for early diagnosis and treatment. He added that late diagnosis could lead to about 60% death of infected persons.
“Without early diagnosis and treatment, one in five infections result in severe disease, where the virus affects several organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys.
“We need resources to invest in diagnostics to easily, accurately and safely test for Lassa fever as we do for malaria and HIV. Without a proper diagnosis, many people do not receive the correct treatment and that is why we see so many people with Lassa fever dying each year.”