Deadly Lassa fever kills over 170 people in Nigeria this year

Deadly Lassa fever kills over 170 people in Nigeria this year

Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

International attention is rightly focused on the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. However, in parts of Nigeria, the Lassa fever is responsible for over 170 deaths. Therefore, the annual crisis is once more killing people and leaving families devastated.

It is known that Lassa fever blights many West African nations. Thus past cases have been reported in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Viral hemorrhagic fever creates general weakness, headaches, muscle pains, and vomiting. Other rare symptoms include bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract or the mouth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stipulates, Individuals at greatest risk of Lassa virus infection are those who live in or visit endemic regions, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria and have exposure to the multimammate rat. Risk of exposure may also exist in other West African countries where Mastomys rodents exist. Hospital staff are not at great risk for infection as long as protective measures and proper sterilization methods are used.”

Each year is different, so the figure of Lassa fever generally falls between 100,000 and 300,000 cases a year. Thus, several thousand die each year from Lassa fever and during epidemics, the figure is much higher. Hence, Lassa fever blights much of West Africa.

Also, for pregnant women in their third trimester, the mortality rate is extremely high. Likewise, fetal death usually follows this sad situation.

The World Health Organization reports, Among patients who are hospitalized with severe clinical presentation of Lassa fever, case-fatality is estimated at around 15%. Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival.” 

It is hoped the annual crisis of Lassa fever will be addressed to a higher level given the seriousness of this virus.



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