Disease

Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria – Update

The growing Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed 101 people, as West Africa battles to contain a flare up of the virus, according to data from the nation’s health authorities released Saturday.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) statistics show that reported cases of the haemorrhagic disease — both confirmed and suspected — stood at 175 with a total of 101 deaths since August.

While health authorities assure Africa’s most populous country of more than 170 million they have the virus under control, there are fears the actual scale of the outbreak is under-reported.

The outbreak of Lassa fever was only announced in January — months after the first case of the disease happened in August — with subsequent deaths reported in 10 states, including Abuja.

In neighbouring Benin at least nine people have died in a Lassa outbreak, with a total of 20 suspected cases, health authorities said Tuesday.

The number of Lassa fever infections in West Africa every year is between 100,000 to 300,000, with about 5,000 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infections with fever, vomiting and, in worse case scenarios, haemorrhagic bleeding.

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