1675490460 Nigeria declares Lassa fever state of emergency

Nigeria declares Lassa fever state of emergency

Lassa fever transmitting rodent specimens in formalin at the Irrua Research Center in Nigeria.Specimens of Lassa fever transmitting rodents in formaldehyde at Irrua Research Center in Nigeria.PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Nigeria’s Governmental Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) on Wednesday declared a level two emergency due to the “unprecedented” increase in cases of Lassa fever of viral origin in the country, which can cause oral, nasal and vaginal pulmonary effusion or gastrointestinal bleeding and hypotension. In the first three weeks of January alone, 244 confirmed cases and 37 deaths were identified, which Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, director general of the NCDC under the government, is at very high risk of increased transmission of this disease. The emergency declaration implies the activation of a national operations center to coordinate and strengthen measures to respond to the outbreak.

Already the latest NCDC report on Lassa fever, released on January 22, warned of the increase in infections compared to previous years, with a death rate of 15.1% and cases in 16 of the country’s 36 states, in addition to the Federal capital, Abuja. The hardest-hit areas are Ondo and Edo in the south, with 90 and 89 infections, respectively, in January. The disease is also spreading to Bauchi, Taraba, Benue, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Anambra, Delta, Oyo, Adamawa, Enugu, Imo, Kogi and Abuja.

Throughout 2022, 1,038 confirmed cases and 183 deaths were identified in a total of 111 municipalities belonging to 27 states in the country, and again Ondo, Edo and Bauchi were the hardest hit with 71% of the cases. The hardest-hit age group was people between the ages of 21 and 30, according to the NCDC.

Throughout 2022, 1,038 confirmed cases and 183 deaths were identified in a total of 111 communities in Nigeria

Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria and other West African countries, particularly Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Benin, Togo and Ghana. The peak of the falls usually occurs in the dry season between December and April. Given the worrying evolution of the disease over the past year, the NCDC under the Nigerian government took several measures back in November, such as working.

It is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus that is transmitted to humans through contact with animals or household items contaminated with the urine or feces of rats of the genus Mastomys, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The natural reservoir of the virus is the African soft-coated rat, which is found in many countries on the continent, although other rodents can also be vectors of transmission. The increase in cases coincides with time after the rats’ reproductive cycle, which occurs with the rainy season between May and November.

In addition to being infected through contact with contaminated objects, the virus is also transmitted between people through contact with liquids from sick people. WHO assures that 80% of cases are asymptomatic, but present in one in five people with fever, headache and myalgia, vomiting and diarrhea and in the most severe cases with multi-organ disorders and bleeding. Early diagnosis is vital to dealing with outbreaks, and Nigeria has seen its response capability improve in recent years. However, efforts to treat Covid-19 at the expense of other diseases, disparities in coverage between some states and others, and under-application of preventive measures are factors that have contributed to exacerbating the outbreak, according to the WHO.

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