Lassa fever death toll in Nigeria reaches 98

The death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria this year has risen to 98 amid government measures to reduce infections across the country, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Monday.

The public health agency said in a statement that 12 additional deaths and 90 new infections were recorded in the country between February 21 and February 27. The new cases were recorded in 12 states.

With the 98 deaths so far recorded, the NCDC said the case fatality rate in the country is at 18.1 percent, which is lower than the 22.8 percent recorded for the same period in 2021.

Lassa fever is usually transmitted when the saliva, urine, and excreta of the multi-mammalian rats come into contact with humans. Human-to-human transmission is rare but can occur through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms to malaria, appearing between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus. In mild cases, the disease causes fever, fatigue, weakness, and headache.

The NCDC said it remained committed to supporting state public health teams to achieve the goal of reducing the Lassa fever case fatality rate to a single digit.

The disease control agency said it is currently distributing medical response commodities to states and treatment centers, as part of measures to control the spread of the disease.

On January 26, the NCDC said it had activated the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa fever emergency operations center in response to the outbreak in the country.