LASSA FEVER - WEST AFRICA (16): NIGERIA (BAUCHI)
Posted on 13TH APR 2017
tagged Lassa Fever, West Africa; Nigeria
Date: Wed 12 Apr 2017
Source: Nigerian Bulletin [edited]
No fewer than 24 persons have died following the outbreak of Lassa fever between November 2015 and February 2017 across Bauchi State.
Data on the Lassa fever outbreak in Bauchi state obtained from the Ministry of Health and made available to newsmen indicate that 37 cases were recorded in 7 local government areas of the state, further indicating that 2 cases recorded in Plateau state were treated in Bauchi.
The local government areas affected, according to the report, are Tafawa Balewa, Dass, Bauchi, Bogoro, Toro, Alkaleri and Ganjuwa.
The report indicated that a total of 18 people died as a result of the outbreak in 2016, while 3 died in 2015 and in 2017.
The recorded cases affected 23 males between the ages of 3 and 78, and 14 males aged between 20 and 70 years.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[The occurrence of sporadic cases of Lassa fever in Bauchi state is not surprising. Many areas in Nigeria are endemic for Lassa virus, including Bauchi state, so one can expect individual or small clusters of cases to pop up in several states during the transmission (dry) season, as illustrated by the cases above.
Nigeria has begun to expand its surveillance with laboratory support to speed up diagnosis and response to Lassa fever and other diseases.
The circumstances under which the 3 fatal 2017 cases in Bauchi occurred are not stated. As noted in earlier comments, Lassa fever remains a problem in Nigeria because the virus is endemic 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. 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.
Also, as noted in earlier, 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 http://www.ispot.org.za/node/255877.
Maps of Nigeria can be accessed at http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/nigeria.pdf and http://healthmap.org/promed/p/62. - Mod.TY]
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