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Occurrence of Lassa Fever Virus Infections and Control Efforts in Nigeria

Occurrence of Lassa Fever Virus Infections and Control Efforts in Nigeria

Martha Echioda Ogbole*, James Agbo Ameh, Samuel Mailafia, Olatunde Hamza Olabode and Bridget Jessica Adah

Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja.

 
*Correspondence | Martha Echioda Ogbole, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Abuja; Email: echioda.martha@uniabuja.edu.ng

ABSTRACT

Lassa fever (LF), caused by Lassa virus (LV), is a severe and acute viral haemorrhagic fever. The LV is a single-stranded RNA virus of the family Arenaviridae, transmitted by the Mastomys natalensis rodent. This retrospective study was undertaken to determine the annual prevalence, distribution and case fatality rate (CFR) of LF in Nigeria with a view to establish the disease burden and dynamics, and to guide a sustainable control plan. The LF weekly epidemiological reports were obtained from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) between January 2016 - January 2021. Positive cases were confirmed based on laboratory confirmation of LV- transcription polymerase chain reaction (LASV-RT- PCR). The number of suspected and confirmed cases as well as total deaths and case fatality rates in the years under review were collated. Out of the total number of 17,777 suspected cases, 2959 cases were confirmed positive for LF by a laboratory test, while 781 deaths were recorded. Annual distribution of LF showed significant increase in number of cases with 152 (9.6%) confirmed cases recorded in 2016, 143 (19.51%) in 2017, a very high and steady increase was observed in 2018, 2019 and 2020 with confirmed cases at 633 (18%), 833(16%) and 1189 (17%) respectively. LF is endemic in Nigeria especially among both gender within 11 - 40 years of age within the rural settings characterized by sporadic outbreaks of the disease occurring mostly during the dry season. It is hereby recommended that policy makers should timely provide prioritized budgetary allocation for the control of LF. In addition, sustained public enlightenment campaigns on strict hygienic practices and rodent control are also advocated.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

February

Vol. 55, Iss. 1, Pages 1-500

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