Lassa Fever: Health Ministry confirms 35 deaths in 76 cases

By The Citizen

The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed that out of the 76 victims of Lassa fever outbreak, 35 persons had lost their lives.

The ministry said: ‘With the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, it is important for us to put in place preventive and control measures in our homes/offices most especially since reported cases has been confirmed in the region.”

The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, in a statement issued  in Abuja in response to the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country, he confirmed that the fever had spread into eight states namely: Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo.

He added: 'The total number of suspected cases so far reported is 76 with 35 deaths, and a Case Fatality Rate of 46 per cent.

'Healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa Fever should immediately contact the epidemiologist in the State Ministry of Health or call the Federal Ministry of Health using the following numbers: 08093810105,08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.”

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According to the minister, Lassa fever was an acute febrile illness with bleeding and death in severe cases, caused by the Lassa fever virus with an incubation period of 6 to 21 days.

“About 80 per cent of human infections are asymptomatic, the remaining cases have severe multi-system disease, where the virus affects   several   organs in the   body, such as the   liver, spleen and kidneys.

“The onset of the disease is usually gradual, starting with fever, general weakness, and malaise followed by headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough, and   bleeding   from   mouth,   nose,   vagina   or gastro-intestinal tract, and low blood pressure.

The reservoir or host of the Lassa virus is the 'multi-mammate rat' called Mastomys natalensis,” he said.