The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC gave a fresh warning over Lassa fever cases, which it said had risen to 4,632 and recorded 102 deaths. The centre, in its latest advisory made available to one of our correspondents in Abuja warned Nigerians of the possibilities of Lassa fever presenting malaria-like symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough among others.

On its part, the NCDC disclosed that it had sent letters to states on the dangers of Lassa fever and the symptoms to look out for.

Since the last outbreak of the disease in 2016, the NCDC noted that there had been an increase in the number of recurring cases. In 2019, the centre noted that a total of 796 cases were reported, while in 2020, a total of 1,165 cases were confirmed during the height of the pandemic.

But in its latest advisory and situation report, the NCDC said, “Lassa fever initially presents like any other febrile disease such as malaria. its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

“Healthcare workers should maintain a high index suspicion for Lassa fever. Any illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics should raise an index suspicion for Lassa fever.

“The time between an infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is 6 to 21 days. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chances of survival”.

Concerning the deaths, the NCDC stated that Ondo had the highest number of deaths reporting no fewer than 47 deaths, Edo reported 15 deaths, Bauchi 12; Taraba 12; Ebonyi 9; Kaduna 4; Enugu 1 and Nasarawa with two deaths respectively.”

The NCDC gave the number of cases and the respective states as follows, “Edo 2,725; Ondo 1,006;  Bauchi 164; Ebonyi 143; Nassarawa 79; Taraba 72; FCT 59; Kaduna 53;Delta 50; Plateau 42; Benue 34; Kano 24 Gombe 22; Kogi 17;Lagos 16; Borno 15; Enugu 14. 

Others include Jigawa 12; Abia 11;Anambra 10;Rivers 10; Imo 9; Adamawa 8;Kwara 4;Yobe four; Oyo four; Cross River four;Bayelsa three; Sokoto three; Ekiti three;Ogun three; Osun three; Katsina two; Kebbi two;Niger one and Zamfara one.

The NCDC stated that, “Confirmed cases are treated at identified treatment centres across the country, Lassa fever alert letter sent to states, response teams have been deployed to three states.

The NCDC also added that” The five Lassa fever molecular laboratories in the NCDC network are working at full capacity to ensure that all samples are tested and results provided within the shortest turnaround time.”

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