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Anxiety as the Lassa fever epidemic continues

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By Nicole

Lassa fever is spreading once more and this time it is fast paced.

In the past, experts had hypothesized that the dry season is when tropical diseases like Lassa fever spread widely. Right now, it is taking place since the sickness poses a threat to kill a large number of individuals. The number of confirmed Lassa fever cases increased by 77 in January of this year, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), “raising the overall confirmed cases to 105 in 2023.” According to the NCDC, 30 local government units in 10 states have at least one confirmed incidence for the year 2023.

These states: Ondo (33), Edo (25), Ebonyi (6), Bauchi (5), Benue (4), Kogi (1), Imo (1), Oyo (1), and Nasarawa reported the instances . Six documented deaths occurred in that week in January, the bureau added. It was learned that more and more deaths and infections from Lassa fever have been reported nationwide since mid-January. For instance, in the first few weeks of February, Prof. Akoria Obehi, the Edo State Commissioner for Health, reported four further deaths from Lassa virus and noted that the most recent death increased the state’s total to 20.

Lassa fever is always rampant during the dry season.

The killings, in accordance with Prof. Obehi, took place in the state’s local governments of Etsako West, Etako Central, and Owan East. He stated that over more than 13 percent of people have died from Lassa fever in the state than previously. 155 confirmed cases in 11 LGAs make up the total number at this time. Lassa fever infestations have also been present in other states to varying degrees. Frequently, these fatalities go unnoticed or unrecorded.

According to the WHO, “Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria, with an annual peak of cases typically reported during the dry season (December–April).” The global health organization issued a warning, stating that “till the conclusion of the dry season, the number of infections is projected to grow further.” For those in the know, the WHO’s warning is a call to arms against the tiny rodents wreaking havoc in houses and frantically scavenging for food. They must be eliminated right at once because they might be signs of impending death.

Disease is gaining pace and power as it spreads.

It has been discovered that many rural residents get Lassa fever around this time every year when the disease-carrying rats break into their homes or storage facilities in search of food. Such rats have less stuff to consume once the harvest season is gone. Some of them leave in search of food in and around the residences as they move on to brighter pastures. Furthermore, it was discovered that those who dry their food by highways or in prime village locations expose themselves to disease. According to experts, rats eat out of exposed food when they come into contact with it. On occasion, they would even defecate or urinate on the food. They do this in order to leave the deadly Lassa fever virus in their wake.

Now, everyone has been forewarned that the little rats that live in and around their homes could be a threat to their families. Some of them foretell illness and death. They can spread grief and misery despite their small size. Despite how innocent they may look, they wage an unrelenting biological war on humanity with their pee and feces alone, causing immeasurable harm. Lassa fever has been reviving as the dry season begins, gaining speed and power as it spreads. It is a fact that a fever quickly kills. Those who get infected have a slim chance of living. Over the years, health professionals have fallen prey to its influence while working to help others, not realizing they were up against such a powerful adversary until it was too late.

Other ways in Which the disease can be contacted.

Dr. Eze also discussed additional ways that people might catch Lassa fever, saying that these include eating contaminated foods and coming into contact with things or household items that have been exposed to Mastomys rat feces or urine. Mr. Oladayo Ibukun, a medical microbiologist, informed our reporter that overland travelers who purchase meals like garri or exposed, leftover items on the road are also at risk. Individuals also run the risk of contracting Lassa fever, particularly if they purchase foods like garri or elubo (ground cassava or ground yam) from roadside vendors.

Related Link

CDC: Website

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