By Emeka Okonkwo
Abuja — AT least 83 people have died this year from a raging outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
The deaths have been recorded from some 1 250 cases in 21 states, out of the West African country’s total of 36 states.
Fifteen health workers are among those that have been infected.
The government and non-governmental organisations (NGOS) have deployed personnel to affected states to address the crisis.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported that the number of Lassa fever cases reported weekly was decreasing following the intensive response to the outbreak declared on November 21.
NCDC has activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response activities since the beginning of the outbreak.
“Despite the reduction in new cases, response activities are being intensified at the national and state level,” said a spokesperson.
Lassa fever is a viral infection caused by a virus, primarily transmitted to humans through direct contact, eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.
Person-to-person transmission is through contact with blood, urine, saliva, throat secretion or sexual fluids of an infected person.
Early signs of the disease include sudden fever, sore throat and general body weakness.
Nigeria is also battling a severe outbreak of cholera ravaging camps housing millions displaced by the Boko Haram terror group northeast of the country.