The latest report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed that as of July 24, 2022, three states contributed 70 percent of the total burden of Lassa fever in the country.

The states are Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi with Lassa fever burden of 30 percent, 26 percent, and 14 percent respectively.

Furthermore, between July 18 to 24, new confirmed cases increased to 10 from five the previous week. Sadly, two persons lost their lives during the period under consideration. Therefore, since the beginning of the year, the total confirmed cases of Lassa fever are 857, with 164 total deaths reported.

The NCDC said: “Cumulatively from week 1 to week 29, 2022, 164 deaths have been reported with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 19.1 percent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2021 (23.7 percent).

“In total for 2022, 24 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 99 Local Government Areas.

“Of all confirmed cases, 70 percent are from Ondo (30 percent), Edo (26 percent), and Bauchi (14 percent) states. The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 0 to 90 years, median age: 30 years). The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.8.

“The number of suspected cases has increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2021. One new Healthcare worker affected in Ondo State.

“National Lassa fever multi-partner, multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate the response activities at all levels.”

To reduce the risk of the spread of Lassa fever, the NCDC offers the following advice: Ensure proper environmental sanitation – that is, keep your environment clean at all times, block all holes in your house to prevent rats from entering; Cover your dustbins and dispose of refuse properly. Communities should set up dumpsites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes; Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize, etc in containers that are well covered with tight-fitting lids.

Others are – Avoid drying foodstuffs outside on the floor, roadside where they will be exposed to contamination; Avoid bush burning which can lead to the displacement of rats from bushes to human dwellings; Eliminate rats in homes and communities by setting rat traps and other means; Practice good personal hygiene by frequent washing hands with soap under running water or use of hand sanitisers when appropriate, and visit the nearest health facility if you notice any of the signs and symptoms of Lassa fever as mentioned earlier, and avoid self-medication.