Posted on 26TH FEB 2017
tagged Lassa Fever, West Africa; Nigeria

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 24 Feb 2017, 3:34 PM
Source: Daily Trust [edited]

In Bauchi state, 4 people died from a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever. The state commissioner of health, Dr Halima Mukaddas disclosed this in a press briefing today [Fri 24 Feb 2017] in Bauchi.

She said 1 person is still undergoing treatment from the 5 cases so far recorded since January [2017]. According to the commissioner, the 4 deaths were recorded in Bauchi, Alkaleri and Ganjuwa local government areas of the state. She said 2 persons died from the disease in Bauchi and 1 in Alkaleri and Ganjuwa each. The other person receiving treatment is from Ganjuwa local government where 2 cases were reported.

It could be recalled that 4 persons also died from the disease earlier between August and December 2016.

Mukaddas disclosed that the state response team on Lassa fever is taking all measures to curb the spread of the disease.

The Commissioner therefore advised the residents from the affected councils and the state at large to adopt preventive measures against the disease which include effective sanitary measures against its vector, the [multimammate] rat. She advised them to cover their food items against droppings from rats and other rodents which are believed to be the hosts to the deadly Lassa virus.

She also advised medical workers to apply universal precaution while attending to patients to prevent transmission.

Communicated by:

[The occurrence of sporadic cases of Lassa fever in Bauchi and other states in Nigeria is not surprising. Lassa fever remains a problem in large areas of Nigeria because the virus is endemic in rodents there. Virus transmission to humans occurs when people are in contact with the reservoir rodent host, the multimammate mouse (in the genus _Mastomys_) or their excreta. That's the reason why the health authorities in the above report advise people to prevent rodent access to their food materials. Transmission also occurs in health facilities when personal protection equipment is not employed and barrier nursing practices are not adequate to protect staff from blood and secretions of infected patients.

As noted in previous posts, prevention and control of Lassa fever in nature depends on control of the rodent reservoir, which occurs across Nigeria and beyond. Reduction of populations of this rodent will require active participation at the village level. That will necessitate mounting a public education program with support of rodent control technicians. Preventing entry of rodents into the home and keeping food materials tightly covered are helpful measures to prevent infection. Elimination of these rodents completely is probably not possible.

Images of _Mastomys_ mice can be seen at

Maps of Nigeria can be accessed at and - Mod.TY]

See Also
Lassa fever - West Africa (06): Nigeria 20170225.4862689
Lassa fever - West Africa (05): Nigeria (NA) 20170215.4842179
Lassa fever - West Africa (04): Liberia 20170209.4827934
Lassa fever - West Africa (03): Nigeria (RI) 20170122.4782917
Lassa fever - West Africa (02): Nigeria (NA) 20170118.4773375
Lassa fever - West Africa (01): Nigeria (OG) 20170101.4735363