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Lassa Fever: 70 Confirmed Dead, NCDC Reports

Oladipupo Afolayan

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced that 472 cases of Lassa fever have been recorded, while 70 deaths have also been confirmed in 92 council areas of 26 states between January and February 9, 2020.

It also said no fewer than 14 health workers were affected within the period under review.

Assistant Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Department of the NCDC, Dr Kola Jinaidu, stated this at a one-day sensitisation seminar organised by Great Helping Hands Foundation. The event which was in partnership with Oma Life Rescue Foundation (OLRF) in Kaduna, was themed: “Global Threats of Coronavirus and Lassa Fever, Awareness, Causes and Prevention.”

Dr Jinaidu said symptoms of Lassa fever were more difficult to identify, particularly in the non-epidemic period, adding that some of the symptoms include fatigue, general weakness, fever, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, face swelling and low blood pressure.

He explained further that Lassa fever could be transmitted through direct contact with urine, excreta, saliva or blood of infected rats, contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

Person-to-person transmission can occur through contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus and other body fluids of an infected person.

However, he said early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival. He stressed that preventive measures against Lassa fever include effective personal hygiene like frequent hand washing practices, use of hand sanitizers, proper environmental sanitation and rodent control measure.

On Coronavirus, he said contrary to insinuations, the disease is not in Africa, however, hundreds of thousands have been affected, while over 1000 deaths have been recorded in China.

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