The statistics by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have revealed that 434 cases of Lassa fever have been recorded in Nigeria in 2021.
According to NCDC’s recent Lassa Fever situation report, at least 80 persons were confirmed to have died of the disease this year.
The states affected by the infections include Edo (192), Ondo (150), Taraba (21), Ebonyi (17), Bauchi (15), Benue (8), Plateau (8), Kaduna (7), Enugu (5), Nasarawa (3), Kogi (3), Cross River (1), Imo (1), Anambra (1), Delta (1), and Abia (1).
“The disease is endemic in Nigeria like in several other countries in West Africa, and most cases are seen during the dry season, often between November and May. Since January 2021, a total of 434 confirmed cases with 80 deaths (i.e., a case fatality rate of 18%) have been reported from seventeen (17) States and sixty-three (63) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria. See the latest situation report here (https://ncdc.gov.ng/diseases/sitreps).
“Since 2016, NCDC has worked hard to significantly improve diagnostic capacity for the disease. Currently, seven laboratories have the capacity to test for Lassa fever in Nigeria and this is coordinated by the NCDC National Reference Laboratory (NRL). This has improved active case detection and care for affected individuals which may have gone unnoticed five years ago. In addition, Nigeria through NCDC is participating in the largest-ever Lassa fever study supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) to provide an accurate assessment of the incidence of the disease in West Africa. This is also geared towards the development of vaccine and therapeutics for Lassa fever,” the NCDC report read in part.
According to the report, two persons died from Lassa fever on the 8th of December.
The first case was a pregnant woman who presented in a health facility in Nasarawa State and the next one, a medical doctor involved in the management of the patient that later sought medical care in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In addition, another medical doctor linked to the index case has also been confirmed to have Lassa fever and he is currently receiving medical care in FCT. The Nasarawa State Ministry of Health with support of NCDC has commenced an in-depth epidemiological investigation of the cases to understand the possible source of infection and the extent of the spread of the disease. Contact tracing of all the close contacts of the patients has commenced.