The death toll of Lassa fever in Nigeria so far this year has risen to 151 from the previous 148, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
In its 14th-week Lassa fever situation report, the NCDC said there had been a total of 869 confirmed cases recorded from 26 states and 101 local government areas from January 1 to April 9, 2023.
A total of 4,555 suspected cases were recorded during the period under review.
With the current death toll, the public health institution noted that the case-fatality ratio of the outbreak stood at 17.4 per cent.
Of the 869 cases confirmed this year, the predominant age group affected was 21-30 years and the male-to-female ratio for the confirmed cases was 10:9.
According to the World Health Organisation, Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses.
Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats.
The disease is endemic in the rodent population in parts of West Africa.
Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.
“Seventy-one per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 29 per cent were reported from three states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.
“Of the 71 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 32 per cent, Edo 28 per cent, and Bauchi 11 per cent.
“The number of suspected cases increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2022,” the report read in part.