Nigeria records 20 new cases of Lassa fever

Nigeria records 20 new cases of Lassa fever

Disease caused by rodent feces endemic in many African countries, says expert

By Olanrewaju Kola

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria has recorded at least 20 new cases of Lassa fever with two deaths, the country's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

In an update Wednesday, the center said a total of 206 suspected cases of Lassa fever were reported in 14 counties across the country.

The number of new confirmed cases increased to 20 this week from nine in the previous week, indicating a sharp increase in the spread of the disease, it announced.

Five states where the new cases were recorded are Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba, according to the center.

Experts said Lassa fever, usually caused by rodents' feces, brings acute hemorrhagic fever which can last between one to four weeks and can spread through contact with infected persons.

Dr. Bala Hassan, a World Health Organization (WHO) public health officer, told Anadolu Lassa fever can kill, adding that the disease is endemic in most West African nations, especially in Nigeria, Liberia, Mali, Guinea, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.

On prevention, he said WHO has trained 205 community volunteers to sensitize people, especially in the country's volatile northeast region where the disease first broke out in 1969.

This week’s new cases brought the total confirmed cases of Lassa fever to 897 with 154 deaths in the country between January and May 3.

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