Laser Fever: What You Should Know About The 2022 Outbreak In Nigeria

The  Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had officially announced the re-emergence of laser fever on January 3, 2022, and by the end of the month, the Centre confirmed 211 cases including 40 deaths from 14 of the 36 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory across the country.

By February, the centre had recorded a cumulative 450 cases and a death toll of 86 which is considered lower than the death toll at the same period in 2021. The deaths reported have a case fatality rate (CFR) of 19.1% which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 at 27.5%.

Lassa Epidemiology In Nigeria From 2021 – 2022

Lassa fever is an endemic disease in Nigeria that causes outbreaks in the country almost every year during the dry season (December to April). First discovered in a town called Lassa in Borno State, Nigeria in 1969.

A total of 6,649 suspected cases were recorded within the reporting period; of these, 960 were confirmed by laboratory diagnosis. The seasonal trend of Lassa fever cases showed peaks within January to March, except for the year 2015.

The zoonotic disease which is associated with high morbidity and mortality is transmitted through the saliva, urine, and excreta of the multi-mammate rat (mastomys natalensis), one of the most common rats in equatorial Africa.

Human-to-human transmission is rare but can occur through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

In 2021, the NCDC has confirmed reports of the diseases in 11 states, at least one confirmed case each across 20 local government areas. They include Ondo, Edo, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Kogi, Taraba, Enugu, Benue, Gombe, Nasarawa, and Delta States.

The Director of Public Health, Edo Edo State Ministry of Health, Dr Bruce Osa, said the state had recorded 40 cases and lost four persons to Lassa fever in the current outbreak.

Lassa fever has an incubation period of 21 days and the symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle and chest pains, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, cough and abdominal pain. In most severe cases, individuals may bleed from the mouth, nose, eyes or other parts of the body.

How To Protect Yourself From Lassa Fever

To prevent yourself from contracting the disease, it is necessary to maintain good household and community hygiene,

  • Store grains and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers
  • Dispose of garbage far from the home
  • Regular fumigation to keep rodents away
  • It is also advised to keep cats

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

Related post