By Asmau Ahmad
The death toll from the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria in 2022 was 189, the latest report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has revealed.
The report also showed that the confirmed cases for last year rose to 1,067 across 112 local government areas and 27 states.
The 52nd-week report from December 26 to January 1, 2023, showed that the suspected cases were 8,202. It also revealed that 63 healthcare workers were infected by the disease.
Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.
“In week 52, the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 17 in week 51, 2022, to 12 cases. These were reported from Edo, Ebonyi and Benue States.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 52, 2022, 189 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 17.7 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (20.0 per cent).
“In total for 2022, 27 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 112 local government areas. Seventy-two per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo and Bauchi) while 23 per cent were reported from 24 states with confirmed Lassa fever cases. Of the 72 per cent of confirmed cases, Ondo State reported 33 per cent, Edo 25 per cent, and Bauchi 14 per cent.
“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 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 was affected in the reporting week 52.
“National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group continues to coordinate the response activities at all levels,” NCDC explained in the report.