Nigeria records zero Lassa fever deaths for 2nd consecutive week

Nigeria has recorded Lassa fever deaths every week in 2020, except for the past two weeks.

Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu [Twitter/@Chikwe_I]

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by rodents and is endemic in West African countries.

The six new cases were recorded in Ondo (3), Gombe (2), and Taraba (1), according to the latest situation report published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday, April 24.

Nigeria has now witnessed a steady decline in the number of new cases since 115 cases were recorded between February 10 and February 16.

The week under review is also the second consecutive week that no death was recorded since one was recorded between March 23 and March 29.

The new cases raise Nigeria's total number of cases to 979, with 188 deaths recorded since January 2020, an outbreak that the director general of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, described last week as the largest Lassa fever outbreak ever reported in any country, 'anywhere in the world'.

At least one case of Lassa fever has been detected in 27 states across 127 local government areas across the country. The predominant age-group affected is 21-30 years.

Edo has recorded the highest number of cases with 320, followed by Ondo (313), Ebonyi (73), and Taraba (56).

Ondo has recorded the highest number of deaths with 44, followed by Edo with 39, Taraba with 21, and Ebonyi with 16.

Other states affected are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Sokoto.

Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo have recorded confirmed cases, but zero deaths during the course of the year.

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.

Nigeria is equally dealing with a devastating coronavirus outbreak that has infected 2.7 million people across the world and, unlike Lassa fever, has interrupted the flow of social and economic activities.

As of April 23, 981 coronavirus cases have been detected in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

While 197 people have recovered, 31 deaths have been recorded.

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