On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) confirmed that the death toll from Lassa fever in Nigeria has risen to 142.
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So far this year, this acute viral hemorrhagic disease has spread to 23 states, with a total of 784 confirmed cases.
With 142 deaths recorded to date, the case fatality rate of 18.1 percent in 2023 is lower than the 18.7 percent recorded in the same period last year.
The NCDC said that as of epidemiological week 11, 38 cases have been recorded in Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Taraba, Benue, Rivers, Plateau and Nasarawa states. This number of cases represents a decrease compared to week 10, when 70 cases were reported.
Lassa fever is caused by the Lassa virus. Humans usually contract the virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated by the urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats.
The disease is endemic in the rodent population of West African countries such as Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria
In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms to malaria, appearing between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus. In mild cases, the disease causes fever, fatigue, weakness and headache.
In severe cases, however, this tropical disease causes bleeding from the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.