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Lagos Records First Lassa Fever Case As Nigeria Deaths Top 100

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An outbreak of Lassa in Nigeria has killed 103 people this year, health authorities said. This comes as the country confirmed its first case of Lassa fever in the economic hub, Lagos State.


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control released its latest statistics on the virus on Wednesday, 19th February 2020. In it, the NCDC wrote: “Cumulatively from week 1 to week 07, 2020, 103 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 17.6%.”


The overall number of confirmed cases rose by 115 last week to a total of 586 across the country.


Separately, health authorities in Lagos said an infected person was diagnosed with Lassa fever there on 17th February. The person is currently under treatment in isolation in a hospital. Lagos State is Nigeria’s most populous city, with 20 million inhabitants.


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“Sixty-three people that may have been in contact with the patient and who may have been infected in the process have been identified and are being monitored,” the state government wrote on Twitter on Thursday.


Endemic to Nigeria, Lassa fever belongs to the same family as the Ebola and Marburg viruses. It is, however, much less deadly.


The disease spreads by contact with rat faeces, urine or the bodily fluids of an infected person. The majority of those infected do not show symptoms, but the disease can go on to cause severe bleeding and organ failure in about 20% of cases.


An outbreak of Lassa fever killed some 170 people around Nigeria last year. The number of cases usually climbs around the start of the year linked to the dry season.


While the overall number of confirmed cases and deaths is up this year from the same period in 2019, the mortality rate is lower.


The virus takes its name from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria, where it was first identified in 1969. Twenty health workers across the country have been confirmed as contracting the disease so far in 2020.


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