At least 32 people have died of Lassa fever since the beginning of the new year, according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In a situation report obtained by Channels Television on Saturday, the agency disclosed that the nation reported a total of new 170 confirmed cases within the period.
“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 3, 2022, 32 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.8% which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (25.0%),” said the report which is the third to be released by the NCDC this year.
Lassa virus is transmitted to man by infected multi-mammate rats and humans become infected from direct contact with the urine and faeces of the rat carrying the virus.
It is an acute viral illness and a viral haemorrhagic fever contracted by touching soiled objects, eating contaminated food, or exposure to open cuts or sores.
Secondary transmission from person to person can also occur as a result of exposure to the virus in the blood, tissue, urine, faeces or other bodily secretions of an infected patient.
The report also indicated that a total of 759 suspected cases of the disease were reported across 37 local government areas of 12 states.
Of the figure, the NCDC said 74 per cent were recorded in three states of Edo (28 per cent), Ondo (28 per cent), and Bauchi (23 per cent).
In the third week of the year covering January 17 to 23, the NCDC said 294 suspected cases of Lassa fever were reported across 23 local government areas of nine states.
Seventy-four of the suspected cases were confirmed while 11 new infected patients lost the fight to the disease.
The confirmed cases were reported from Ondo, Bauchi, Edo, Oyo, Ebonyi, Benue, Katsina, Kaduna, and Taraba States, and now new health worker was infected in the course of the week.
“The predominant age-group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 to 80 years, Median Age: 30 years),” the report added. “The male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1 : 0.9. The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021.
“National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate the response activities at all levels.”