Lassa Fever Claims 188 Lives, Impacts 50 Health Workers 

Aminat Gusanu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has released a sobering report on the continuing impact of Lassa fever in the country. 

The centre said between January and October, 2023, no fewer than 188 lives were claimed by this infectious disease, which represents a case fatality rate (CFR) of 17.2%.

It added that while this CFR is a significant concern, it marks a slight improvement from the 18.9% recorded during the same period in 2022.

The NCDC’s latest situation report, made public on Tuesday, reveals that 50 healthcare workers have fallen victim to Lassa fever in 2023. 

This underscores the critical need for proper protection measures within the healthcare sector.

The report for weeks 1 to 41 of 2023 shows a staggering total of 7,724 suspected cases, indicating the widespread nature of the disease’s impact.

 Lassa fever has been reported in 28 states, affecting 113 local government areas, demonstrating its far-reaching consequences.

The data from the report reveals that 75% of all confirmed Lassa fever cases have been reported from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with the remaining 25% distributed among 25 states with confirmed cases. 

The breakdown shows Ondo with 35%, Edo with 29%, and Bauchi with 11%, making these regions the hardest-hit by the outbreak.

The predominant age group affected is 22-30 years, with cases ranging from 1 to 93 years, and a median age of 32 years. The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:09, highlighting a higher incidence among males.

While the report indicates that the number of suspected cases has increased compared to the same period in 2022, there’s a specific concern about a healthcare worker newly affected during reporting week 41. 

This emphasizes the importance of safeguarding healthcare professionals in the front lines.

In response to the ongoing crisis, the National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate response activities at all levels, seeking to curb the disease’s spread and reduce its impact on communities and healthcare workers. 

Despite these challenges, efforts persist to mitigate the toll of Lassa fever on the nation’s health.

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