The Nigeria Centre for Disease has given a fresh warning over Lassa fever cases, which it said had risen to 4,632 and recorded 102 deaths.
The centre, in its latest advisory made available to PUNCH, warned Nigerians of the possibilities of Lassa fever presenting malaria-like symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough among others.
On its part, the NCDC disclosed that it had sent letters to states on the dangers of Lassa fever and the symptoms to look out for.
Since, the last outbreak of the disease in 2016, the NCDC noted that there had been an increase in the number of recurring cases. In 2019, the centre noted that a total of 796 cases were reported, while in 2020, a total of 1,165 cases were confirmed during the height of the pandemic.
But in its latest advisory and situation report, the NCDC said,
“Lassa fever initially presents like any other febrile disease such as malaria. its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, chest pain and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.
“Healthcare workers should maintain a high index suspicion for Lassa fever. Any illness that has not responded to 48 hours use of anti-malaria or antibiotics should raise an index suspicion for Lassa fever
“The time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease is 6 to 21 days. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chances of survival.”
Concerning the deaths, the NCDC stated that Ondo had the highest number of deaths reporting no fewer than 47 deaths, Edo reported 15 deaths, Bauchi 12; Taraba 12; Ebonyi 9; Kaduna 4; Enugu 1 and Nasarawa with two deaths respectively.
The NCDC gave the number of cases and the respective states as follows, Edo 2,725; Ondo 1,006; Bauchi 164; Ebonyi 143; Nassarawa 79; Taraba 72; FCT 59; Kaduna 53;Delta 50; Plateau 42; Benue 34; Kano 24 Gombe 22; Kogi 17; Lagos 16; Borno 15; Enugu 14.
Others include Jigawa 12; Abia 11; Anambra 10; Rivers 10; Imo 9; Adamawa 8; Kwara 4; Yobe four; Oyo four; Cross River four; Bayelsa three; Sokoto three; Ekiti three; Ogun three; Osun three; Katsina two; Kebbi two; Niger one and Zamfara one.
The NCDC stated that:
“Confirmed cases are treated at identified treatment centres across the country, Lassa fever alert letter sent to states, response team have been deployed to three states.
The five Lassa fever molecular laboratories in the NCDC network are working full capacity to ensure that all samples are tested and results provided within the shortest turn around time.”
Nigerian children aged 0-59 months at immediate risk of contracting polio, NPHCDA warns
Meanwhile, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has warned that all Nigerian Children aged 0-59 months are at immediate risk of contracting the poliovirus following the recent outbreak of the Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus in Nigeria.
This is as Lagos, Kebbi, Federal Capital Territory, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Ekiti and Kwara states reported 68 cases of the CVDPV2 within one week.
It was reported that Nigeria in August 2020, was certified wild polio virus-free by the World Health Organization Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission for polio eradication.
Nigeria was the last polio-endemic country in Africa and was officially certified free from polio after marking three consecutive years since the last case had been identified.
While Nigeria is wild polio-free, the NPHCDA said,
“Another type of poliovirus called Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus is still causing polio outbreaks in Nigeria”.
The agency noted that in 2019, only 18 cases of the CVDPV were reported, the agency also stated that in 2020, only 8 cases were reported
The agency further explained that “cVDPV occurs when a weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine circulates among the under-immunized population for a long time. cVDPV outbreaks are stopped using same tactics that enabled progress against WPV polio, ensuring every child is given oral polio vaccine in a high-quality immunization campaign
“nOPV2 is an improved oral polio vaccine which based on the current oral polio vaccine, that has been proven effective and safe in eradicating wild poliovirus from Nigeria.”
In the latest data obtained by our correspondent, six states reported 68 cases of the new strain between December 21 and December 28, 2021. The report which was collated by the Ministry of health, the WHO, UNICEF and GAVI stated that “64 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 were reported in the past week.
‘35 in Kebbi, eight in Sokoto, six each in Kaduna and Nasarawa, four in Kwara, two in FCT, one each in Niger, Ekiti and Lagos. There are now 385 cases in 2021.”