The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that the death toll recorded from Lassa fever in 2022 is hit 165. This was noted in the latest Lassa fever report situation for week 31 which was published on its website.
The report shows that there were 880 confirmed cases and 6126 suspected cases of the infection recorded from January to August 7, 2022.
It read, “In week 31, the number of new confirmed cases increased from 10 in week 30, 2022 to 13 cases. These were reported in the states of Ondo, Edo, Kogi, Ebonyi, and Imo.
Cumulatively from week 1 to 31, 2022, 165 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.8%, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (23.1%). In total for 2022, 25 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 100 local government areas. Of all confirmed cases (70%), the breakdown indicates Ondo (31%), Edo (26%), and Bauchi (13%).
The predominant age group affected is 21–30 years (Range: 0 to 90 years, Median Age: 30 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.8.
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The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021. There were no new healthcare workers affected in reporting week 31.”
Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever and an acute viral illness, which has a high mobility and mortality rate, as well as health security implications.
Medical experts have stressed the need for increased awareness of viral infection. Meanwhile, NCDC also noted that the national Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group continues to coordinate the response activities at all levels.
According to reports, a medical laboratory scientist at the Department of Microbiology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Obinna Chukwudi, said;
“I hope Lassa fever will become a thing of the past. If you look at the incidence rate, obviously there’s something we are not doing right, or we’ve broken some protocols. We need to engage in active contact tracing. We need to be sure that the confirmed cases and their contacts are traced and treated.
People need to ensure that the food we eat is properly covered. We must continue to educate people about preventive measures. We need to go to the grassroots to sensitize them about the preventive measures. We have to ensure we maintain proper hygiene, wash our hands, sanitize our hands; we have to learn how to prepare for the next epidemic.”
Also, the immediate past president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said, “People have to maintain personal hygiene always and the government should create more awareness about the disease.”