Just as state governments embarked on ” operation rat traps campaign” to curtail the spread of lass fever epidemic the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that the death toll from the outbreak in Nigeria has increased to 41.
The NCDC, in its weekly situation update for week four (January 20 to 26), stated that the number of newly confirmed cases and deaths is gradually on the rise.
Although NCDC has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response activities, the number of new confirmed cases increased from 81 cases in week three to 95 cases.
Between January 1 and 26, a total of 689 suspected cases with 258 confirmed cases were reported with 41 deaths.
These cases were reported from 19 states including Ondo, Edo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Kogi, Rivers, Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Delta, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Osun and Ogun.
Five health workers were among the dead: Kano (3), Taraba (1) and Borno (1).
Since the beginning of the outbreak this year, so far 19 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 60 local government areas.
Although there has been a spike in the number of cases and deaths reported for the reported week, it is still lower than the numbers reported in the same period in 2019.
However, there is very little difference in the number of deaths recorded: 41 so far in 2020 compared to 42 in the same period in 2019.
The Nigerian health agency in a statement issued on Saturday, said the increase in the number of cases at this time of the year is not unusual, due to ecological factors.
This means Nigerians should not yet expect respite from the outbreak because the Lassa fever season in the country peaks from November to May.
This has become a yearly occurrence with hundreds of people infected and dozens of deaths recorded. At present, there is no known vaccine for the prevention of the disease.
Three states, Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi are still the states with the highest prevalent cases among the 19 states with confirmed cases.
NCDC said the predominant age-group affected is 11-40 years. The male to female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:1