Authorities reported on Tuesday, January 16, that three people had died from Lassa fever in Ebonyi state since the beginning of 2018. According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the three individuals were health care workers, and at least one other person is being treated for the disease.
Lassa fever is carried by the Mastomys rat, which is found in parts of West Africa. The virus is transmitted to humans from direct contact with infected rodents or through contact with food or household items contaminated with rat feces or urine. It can also be transmitted through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids. In 2016, over 100 people died from the virus in Nigeria.
All those present in Nigeria are advised to take the necessary measures to protect themselves from the disease 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.