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31 mars 2019 | 01h25 UTC

Nigeria: Lassa fever outbreak continues nationwide as of mid-March /update 20

Nigeria Alerte de sécurité

Health officials report at least 495 confirmed cases of Lassa fever as of mid-March

TIMEFRAME expected from 29/3/2019, 12h00 until 12/4/2019, 11h59 (Africa/Lagos). COUNTRY/REGION Nigeria

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Event

According to Nigerian health officials, at least 495 confirmed cases of Lassa fever were recorded between January 1 and mid-March. In addition, officials have reported at least 114 confirmed fatalities. Despite the deployment of rapid response teams to the most affected states, the rate of cases continues to increase with 23 new cases reported on March 18-25 alone. Although Nigerian health officials, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), have implemented public health measures to curb further spread of the disease, the outbreak is likely to continue if not intensify in the coming weeks. 

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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