Two people have been confirmed dead following the outbreak of Lassa fever in Nasarawa state.
Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the victims are a pregnant woman and a medical doctor.
Another medical doctor linked to the index case has also been confirmed to have Lassa fever and he is currently receiving medical care in FCT.
The statement read;
On the 8th of December 2021, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was notified of the death of two persons from Lassa fever. The first case was a pregnant woman who presented in a health facility in Nasarawa State and the next one, a medical doctor involved in the management of the patient that later sought medical care in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In addition, another medical doctor linked to the index case has also been confirmed to have Lassa fever and he is currently receiving medical care in FCT. The Nasarawa State Ministry of Health with support of NCDC has commenced an in-depth epidemiological investigation of the cases to understand the possible source of infection and the extent of spread of the disease. Contact tracing of all the close contacts of the patients has commenced.
Following these confirmations of Lassa fever cases in Nasarawa state and FCT, the NCDC has intensified the activities of the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa fever Technical Working Group (TWG) for Lassa fever surveillance and response in the country. Lassa fever Emergency Operation Centres have also been activated by the affected state and FCT. The NCDC sympathises with the families of the patients and the healthcare workers who have lost their lives to the disease.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness that is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in healthcare settings when there is the absence of or inadequate infection control measures. Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria, so a high index of suspicion is required especially for attending healthcare workers.
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. The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival.