“The total number (of suspected cases) reported is 86 and 40 deaths, with a mortality rate of 43.2 percent,” Adewole told a news conference in the capital, Abuja.
The minister said that so far, laboratory tests have confirmed that 22 of the 86 suspected cases were Lassa fever and results were expected on the remainder.
Seven of the affected states are in the north — Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Plateau and Gombe — while the remaining three are in the south — Rivers, Edo and Oyo — he added.
The first case of the disease was recorded last November in Bauchi state. Cases were then reported in Kano and elsewhere.
According to the WHO, Lassa fever is an acute haemorrhagic illness caused by a virus, which is endemic in rodents in west Africa. It is transmitted to humans by contact with food or household items contaminated with the animals’ faeces and urine.
Person-to-person contact is also possible through bodily fluids, particularly in hospitals when adequate infection control measures are not taken.
In the latest outbreak, the minister said “most of the cases that we recorded are not through person-to-person contact” but the number of deaths was “unusual”.
Source: Vanguard News