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Lassa Fever deadlier than Ebola …death toll now 108

At least 108 people have lost their lives to Lassa Fever virus since its outbreak in December, 2015, this is according to Health Minister, Prof Isaac Adewole who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, February 11.

Adewole noted that the disease has since spread to 19 states – plus the FCT Abuja. His words, “Nigeria has recorded 176 cases with 108 deaths given a case fatality rate of 61.4 per cent. Out of this, 78 are confirmed cases and 49 deaths given a specific case fatality rate of 62.8 per cent.”

Explaining further, he added, “The total cases reported (suspected, probable and confirmed): 176; total deaths (suspected, probable and confirmed): 108. Total confirmed cases: 78; deaths in confirmed cases: 49.”

A report by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) released Saturday, February 6 corroborated the claim, adding that hundreds of people reported to have had contacts with the established cases are being watched. The report also showed that 12 deaths were recorded from 375 cases last year, while in 2012 there were 1723 cases and 112 deaths as a result of the zoonotic disease.


Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of the spread of the virus


In Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve center, over 534 (of 537) contacts are being monitored from 20 suspected cases. 14 of the 20 have tested negative, four positive while laboratory results are awaited for the remaining two. Of the four positives, two resulted in death, including a 27-year-old lady who was confirmed dead on Friday, January 22.



In oil-rich Rivers, over 200 persons, mostly medical personnel, were placed under surveillance following the outbreak of the disease in the state in December.

Five persons including a medical doctor with Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH), Dr. Livy Ijamala, two women, their two weeks old and unborn child have reportedly died as a result of the virus.

According to the state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Theophilus Ogademe, Rivers had three holding centers for Lassa Fever cases  Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) and the Port Harcourt Model Primary Health Centre.



In Ebonyi, Prof Adewole announced during a meeting of the National Council on Health in Abuja on Tuesday, January 19, that an unidentified patient escaped while undergoing treatment at an unnamed health facility in the state.

He implored the relevant agency and state government to track down the patient and those who might have had contact with him. So far, the state has recorded one death. The state’s governor, Dave Umahi speaking at a town hall meeting with stakeholders on Monday, January 25 revealed that the victim was a 26-year-old student.



The dreaded virus hit the Ayo Fayose-led state on Saturday, January 16.  The victim, a nursing student, was admitted at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, where she tested positive to the virus. According to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olurotimi Ojo, the patient was first treated for malaria and typhoid fever with high profile antibiotics, but did not respond to treatment before she tested positive to the virus.

She, however, survived after the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti Dr. Lawrence Ayodele confirmed that the 19-year-old responded to treatment and was discharged.



Out of five confirmed cases, the death toll, according to the chairman of the Plateau State chapter of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Badung Dalyop stood at two. News reports, however, put it at four.



55 persons were placed under surveillance following the death of a resident doctor at the Maxilofacial Surgery Department at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile Ife.

The Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Temitope Oladele, while briefing journalists in his office on Thursday, January 21, said that the state had created emergency centres to ensure that the disease was contained.



The virus first reached the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on January 13 when a Jos, Plateau-based 33-year-old died at the National Hospital Abuja. Following the death, Health Minister, Prof Isaac Adewole ordered the tracking of all primary and secondary contacts of the victim, including staff of the private hospital in Kubwa where the deceased was first treated for eight days.



In the Sunshine State, two persons were confirmed dead due to the virus in January, while 31 others who had contact with the victims were quarantined.

To stem the spread, the state government has embarked on an enlightenment campaign across the state, with focus on Ose Local Government where the incident was first recorded.

Further efforts to control the outbreak, according to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, include the re-activation of outbreak control team at local governments, and provision of emergency lines.



In a bid to curb the spread of the disease, the state government suspended the eating of rat in the state.

The state governor, Samuel Ortom, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, January 11.

His words, “Benue is affected; we have one case right now that is under control. We have advised our people; rat which is a major carrier is a delicacy. I am finding it difficult, but I have told them to suspend eating rats until further notice.”



By Wednesday, January 27, a total of seven people had lost their lives to the virus at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Head of Clinical Services at the centre, Dr. Iliya Attah confirms.

19 people suspected to have Lassa fever were hospitalised at the centre. Six, however, have been treated and discharged, while three others are still on admission.



Ogun state government had on Saturday, January 16, announced that it had set up three isolation centres, in a bid to contain any case of outbreak of the dreaded disease.

The centres include the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, the State Hospital in Ijaiye and the General Hospital, Iberekodo, Abeokuta.

However, the state recorded its first casualty when a 28-year-old woman died at the isolation unit of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital on Saturday, February 13.

The state placed 110 persons with point of contacts with the victim under observation.



The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Iya, on Tuesday, February 9, confirmed the death of a 13-year-old boy – the third casualty of the disease in the state.

The teenager died at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was transferred to from a private hospital in the state following workers strike in the state. His death comes after that of a male nurse, Ibrahim Oshafu and one other victim in the state since the outbreak in December 2015.



The Bauchi State government confirmed earlier this month that the state had lost six people to the deadly disease.

This was disclosed by the state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Halima Mukaddas, while inspecting the Lassa fever case management centre at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital. She added that the state had procured post exposure equipment to protect hospital staff from getting infected.

Her words, “We have a total of six confirmed cases, three cases last year and three this year, and all the cases that were confirmed positive have died”.

Continuing, she said: “We have put in place various preventive measures such as  sensitizing various communities to create awareness on how to prevent Lassa Fever, the state’s rapid response team monitors cases.”



The state confirmed its first casualty of the disease on Monday, January 11. The Commissioner for Health in Edo, Dr. Eregie Aihanuwa, who made the disclosure during a press conference also noted that five persons were hospitalised after showing the symptoms of the deadly disease.

Aihanuwa explained that of the six infected persons, three were treated and discharged, adding that the deceased did not report her sickness early enough.



The Heartland State confirmed its first case of Lassa fever earlier this month. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Social Development and Women Affairs, Mrs. Ngozi Njoku, in a statement said the state government was informed of a secret treatment and subsequent referral of a suspected patient from a private hospital without official report to government for appropriate action. The statement said the patient later tested positive to the disease.


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