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Nigeria: Lassa fever outbreak continues nationwide /update 17

Health officials report at least 538 suspected cases of Lassa fever as of early February

10 Feb 11:39 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 2/7/2019, 12:00 AM until 2/16/2019, 11:59 PM (Africa/Lagos). COUNTRY/REGION Nigeria
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Event

According to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), at least 538 suspected cases of Lassa fever, including 213 confirmed cases, were reported across seven states between January 1 and early February. In addition, NCDC officials have reported at least 42 confirmed fatalities. The most affected states include Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, and Adamawa. Nigerian health officials, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), have implemented public health measures to curb further spread of the disease. 

Context

Lassa fever, an acute viral hemorrhagic illness, is most often transmitted via the ingestion or inhalation of urine or droppings of an infected multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis). The disease can also be spread from person to person through exposure to the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of an individual infected with the virus, and via medical equipment that has been contaminated (e.g. reused needles). Symptoms of the disease include a slight fever, headache, general malaise, and weakness. In some cases, more serious symptoms such as hemorrhaging (e.g. gums, eyes, nose, etc.), respiratory distress, repeated vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen, and shock may occur. Lassa fever is relatively common in West Africa.

Advice

All those present in Nigeria are advised to take the necessary measures to protect themselves from Lassa fever and to avoid contact with potential carriers of the disease. Wash hands and disinfect all surfaces frequently. Drink only bottled or purified water, and eat only thoroughly cooked or peeled fruit and vegetables. All other food should be thoroughly cooked prior to consumption. Individuals who believe they may have contracted Lassa fever are advised to seek immediate medical attention.  

 

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