The recent wave of Lassa fever in the country has affected more than ten states, with 85 reported cases and 42 deaths including two recent deaths in Ondo state, bringing the total number of states affected to eleven.
The states affected are: Bauchi, Taraba, Niger, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Nassarawa, Plateau, Oyo, Gombe and Ondo states.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. It is commonly found in West African countries.
The virus is a member of the Arenaviridae family and is a single-stranded RNA virus. Due to a lack of proper information management by most African countries, an exact number of yearly infection is not known.
It is, however, estimated that there are about 100,000 to 300,000 infections and about 5,000 deaths yearly.
Lassa fever is named after a town in Borno state
Lassa fever was first recorded in 1969 in the northeastern town of Lassa, when two missionary nurses contracted the sickness, and died thereafter from it.
The sickness is spread through the consumption of infected Rats, consumption of food containing droppings and urine of infected rats, and exchange of bodily fluids with infected person. Natal multimammate mouse found commonly in sub-Saharan African countries are the main host of the Lassa virus.
Nigeria, and several other West African countries, experience yearly outbreak of Lassa fever.
This year, 2016, had the highest number of Lassa fever cases in Nigeria with a mortality rate of 43.2% (so far there has been about 83 number of Lassa fever cases and 40 deaths in 10 states within the country).
Lassa fever is similar to Ebola
Lassa fever and Ebola are both acute viral hemorrhagic fevers and are caused by RNA viruses. Both viral infections suppress the immune system and present themselves as headache, nausea and vomiting, and muscle pain. Both, also, typical have an incubation period of 1-3 weeks. It is difficult to clinically distinguish Lassa fever from Ebola and malaria
Lassa fever virus is present in the urine and Fluid of survivors for 3-12 weeks after.
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