NIGERIA: Lassa fever kills 43 people in 17 States

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Lassa fever has killed 43 people in 17 states of Nigeria out of 193 cases that have tested positive in the last two months, health authorities said Monday.

This figure represents a case-fatality rate of 23.9% of cases confirmed during the last epidemic across the country, according to the Nigerian Disease Control Center (NCDC).

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At present, tests are only conducted in only three laboratories in the most populous country in Africa. Facilities are being set up to help establish a high rate of identification of this severe viral haemorrhagic fever, the NCDC said.

Health Minister Isaac Adewole said the Nigerian Medical Research Institute and other research institutes are now monitoring the development of Lassa fever.

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This “occurs only during the dry season, but now we are experiencing a transmission of Lassa fever throughout the year,” said Mr. Adewole.

Present throughout West Africa, Lassa fever has been persistent in Nigeria for some 30 years. It is a viral infection transmitted through direct contact with water or food contaminated with infected urine, saliva or blood.

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