Lassa fever deaths in Nigeria hit 70
The death toll from the latest round of Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has risen to 70, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said Thursday. A total of 472 confirmed cases of the acute viral hemorrhagic fever, which continued to spread in the most populous African country, had been recorded as of Tuesday, the NCDC said in a statement.
At least 23 out of the 36 states in the country have now been affected by the outbreak, with most cases recorded in the southern states of Ebonyi, Edo, and Ondo, it said. The fatality rate of the outbreak this year stood at 14.8 percent, lower than the 18.7 percent recorded a year ago, it said. The goal of the NCDC was to have a single-digit case-fatality rate in Nigeria, it added. Lassa fever is reportedly transmitted when saliva, urine and excreta of rats come into contact with humans.
In some cases, it has similar symptoms as malaria. Recent epidemiological data show that Lassa fever usually occurs in the country during the dry season between January and April. The latest outbreak erupted in November last year and the first case was reported in the northeastern state of Bauchi. The NCDC has activated a national emergency operation center to coordinate response activities nationwide.