The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said the number of deaths associated with Lassa fever in January 2020 has risen to 24, with 163 reported cases confirmed.
In the situation report, which is based on data retrieved from the National Lassa fever Technical Working Group, published by the NCDC for the third week of January 2020, the number of new confirmed cases rose from 64 cases in week one, 2020 to 81 in the third week of the month. The report said the cases were reported from Ondo, Edo, Delta, Taraba, Plateau and Bauchi states.
NCDC said, “The overall case fatality rate for 2020 is 14.7 per cent, which is lower than the fatality rate for the same period during 2019 (23.4 per cent). In total for 2020, nine states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 32 local government areas.”
It added that out of the confirmed cases, 89 per cent were reported from Edo, which had 38 per cent; Ondo, also with 38 per cent; and Ebonyi with 11 per cent. The centre added that the predominant age group affected by the disease was 11-40 years.
The report said 42 new confirmed cases were reported from Ondo State while 33 were reported from Edo State. It added that one new case was recorded in Taraba and Plateau states, with two cases recorded in each of Bauchi and Delta states. Fifty seven cases are undergoing treatment in various treatment centres across the country.
From the report, NCDC said the number of suspected cases had increased but lower than the number of cases reported in 2019. It said there was no record of any health-care worker infected during the third week.
The latest NCDC report has come one year after the Centre declared Lassa fever a public health emergency. Nigerians have continued to die of the hemorrhagic fever.
Recall that between January 1 and April 28, 2019, 554 laboratory-confirmed cases of Lassa fever were reported, with 124 deaths in 21 states of the Federation.
Before then, Lassa fever cases had increased in Nigeria since 2016, with the highest number of 633 cases reported in 2018.
In a statement, co-signed by the Director General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu; and the Officer-in-Charge, World Health Organisation, Nigeria, Clement Peter, the NCDC declared a public health emergency on January 22, 2019.
One year after this declaration, however, Nigerians have continued to die of the hemorrhagic fever.