Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that 472 cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed, while 70 deaths have been recorded 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 in partnership with Oma Life Rescue Foundation (OLRF) in Kaduna with the theme, “Global Threats of Coronavirus and Lassa Fever, Awareness, Causes and Prevention.”
Jinaidu said symptoms of Lassa fever were more difficult to identify, particularly in non-epidemic period, adding that some of the symptoms include fatigue, general weakness, fever, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, face swelling and low blood pressure.
He explained 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, feces, saliva or blood of infected rats.
Jinaidu further said person-to-person transmission by contact with blood, urine, feces, vomitus and other body fluids of infected person could occur.
He, however, said early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival, stressing that preventive measures against Lassa fever include effective personal hygiene like frequent hand washing practices, use of hand sanitisers, proper environmental sanitation and rodent control measure.
On Coronavirus, he said contrary to insinuations that the disease was not in Africa, hundreds of thousands have been affected, while over 1000 deaths have been recorded in China.
Earlier, Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, who was represented by the Director of Public Health, noted that Lassa fever treatment in the state was free, stressing that it was no longer an epidemic, but has become endemic, adding that the state already has a rapid response team in place.