The number of confirmed Lassa fever infections since the beginning of 2022 is now 857, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Data from the report for Week 30, which covered July 25 to 31, revealed that there were 5,990 suspected cases of the disease in the week under review.
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness and a viral haemorrhagic fever.
This zoonotic disease is associated with high morbidity and mortality, and it has both economic and health security consequences.
The report read in “In week 30, the number of new confirmed cases is the same as reported in week 29, 2022, with 10 cases. These were reported in Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi States.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 30, 2022, 164 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.9% which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (22.8%).
“In total for 2022, 24 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 99 Local Government Areas.
“Of all confirmed cases (70%), Ondo state had (30%), Edo, (26%), and Bauchi, (14%).
“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.
“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021.
“No new healthcare worker affected in the reporting week 30.”
Speaking with The PUNCH, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, said the country can overcome Lassa fever with efforts from the government and the people.
“People are encroaching into the forest without proper development and rats are difficult to control because they breed fast.
“The government is trying but our waste management is poor. Managing waste should be a collaborative effort between the government and the people. Also, the health-seeking behaviour of the people is poor and some people would rather visit the chemist instead of going to the hospital when they are sick. We need a lot of enlightenment,” Fagbemi said.
Also, the immediate past president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said there is a need to have more treatment centres for Lassa fever in the country.
“The people need to also be enlightened on proper hygiene to prevent this disease,” he said.