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NCDC records 14 new Lassa fever cases in Ondo, Edo and Bauchi

The disease is endemic in Nigeria, with sporadic outbreaks occurring primarily during the dry season.

NCDC records 14 new Lassa fever cases in Ondo, Edo and Bauchi

Dr Jide Idris, Director General, NCDC, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus, which is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with the rodent carrier’s urine or faeces.

The disease is endemic in Nigeria, with sporadic outbreaks occurring primarily during the dry season. Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.

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Idris said that cases were recorded in the three states between May 6 and May 12 this year, adding that people between the ages of 31 and 40, were predominantly affected by the disease. He said that 28 out of the 36 states have recorded at least one confirmed case spread across 125 local government areas in 2024.

“64% of all the confirmed cases were from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi while 36% were reported from 25 states.

“Of the 64% of these confirmed cases, Ondo accounted for 25%, Edo 22%, and Bauchi 17%,’’ he said.

The agency said that the National Lassa Fever Multi-Partner, Multi-Sectoral Incident Management System, had been activated to coordinate response at Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) levels.

Idris highlighted some challenges in the fight against Lassa Fever, and added that late reporting of cases and poor health-seeking behaviour were key in the clinical management of the disease.

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“Others were poor environmental sanitation conditions, and poor awareness observed in high-burden communities,’’ he stated.

The NCDC boss noted that every individual irrespective of age is susceptible to Lassa fever, stressing the need for caution to avoid the devastating effects. Idris said that as the agency intensified efforts to raise awareness about Lassa fever, people needed to take proactive measures to safeguard public health.

He urged vigilance among the citizens at all times to avoid exposing their households to the dangers of the disease.

“The virus, transmitted through contact with rat excreta or infected individuals, poses a significant risk to public health.

“Setting traps to eliminate rats within households is nice. This proactive step reduces the risk of exposure to infected rodents.

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“Refrain from handling dead or alive rats with bare hands. This simple precautionary measure significantly minimises the chance of infection.

“Exercise caution when consuming food items or fruits that may have been exposed to rats or rats might have access to,” he noted.

He said that by avoiding such items, individuals could mitigate the risk of ingesting contaminated food sources. Idris noted that as the battle against Lassa Fever continues, Nigeria plays a crucial role in combating the disease.

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