Lassa Fever: 15 Dies in Ondo, Ebonyi as 2020 Death Toll Hits 212

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Nigeria has recorded a total number of 1,026 Lassa Fever cases in 27 states in 2020. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 15 people died from Lassa fever infection in Nigeria in the final week of May 2020.

In the Week 23 situation report released by the NCDC on Saturday, June 13, the acute viral haemorrhagic illness, caused by rodents, killed nine people in Ondo, and six people in Ebonyi.

The agency had failed to publish a report for Week 22 (May 25 to May 31), the period when the 15 fatalities and six new cases were recorded. No new deaths were recorded in Week 23 (June 1 to June 7), with only five new cases in Ondo (3), and Edo (2).

According to the situation report, there are 86 suspected cases in Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, and Ondo also returned negative results in Week 23.

However, the death toll jumped from 197 in the Week 21 report, to 212 in the Week 23 report, the case fatality rate shooting up from 19.4% to 20.7%.

The total number of cases recorded since January 2020 now stands at 1,026, detected in 129 local government areas across 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The NCDC declared in April that the emergency phase of the 2020 Lassa fever outbreak was over because its case count dropped below levels considered to be a national emergency.

However, the agency’s Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said Nigeria would continue to record Lassa fever cases even though the country had passed its usual January to April peak period.

Ondo has recorded the highest number of cases with 337, closely followed by Edo (332), Ebonyi (76), and Taraba (56).

Ondo has also recorded the highest number of deaths with 57, followed by Edo with 39, Ebonyi with 22, and Taraba with 21.

Other affected states are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Sokoto.

Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo have recorded confirmed cases, but zero deaths during the course of the year.

The NCDC said in last month’s announcement that a large epidemiological study being implemented in Nigeria and other West African countries is expected to contribute to Lassa fever vaccine development.

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