The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recorded 472 cases and 70 deaths of Lassa fever as at February 11, 2020, the Director General of the centre, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said.
Ihekweazu told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, while giving an update on the Lassa fever outbreak, that the overall Case Fatality Rate for 2020 stood at 14.8 per cent, lower than the 18.7 per cent recorded during the same period in 2019.
He said the goal of NCDC was to have a single digit CFR in Nigeria, “and we are on the right track toward achieving that”.
He added that Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness and typically zoonotic.
According to him, the Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
The NCDC boss noted that person-to-person transmission through contact with body fluids such as semen, urine and blood could also occur, particularly in hospitals that lacked adequate prevention and control measures.
Ihekweazu, however, stressed that early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment would improve survival.
Ihekweazu reiterated that NCDC had continued to support affected states through deployment of inter-disciplinary Rapid Response Teams and provision of medical supplies for treatment of Lassa fever patients.
The NCDC boss urged Nigerians to continue to keep their environments clean and store food items in tight containers to avoid contact with rats.
He reminded health workers to maintain high index of suspicion for the disease, stressing: “If a patient does not respond to treatment for malaria or other febrile illnesses after 48 hours, it is important to immediately test for Lassa fever.”