Lassa Fever Affects All Ages, NCDC Says

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The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jide Idris.
The director-general, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Jide Idris.

Lassa Fever affects individuals of all age groups, as emphasised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC).

 Director-general of NCDC, Dr. Jide Idris highlighted in an interview that this disease, caused by the Lassa virus, poses a significant health risk regardless of age. The virus is typically transmitted to humans through contact with items contaminated by rodent urine or feces. Symptoms range from fever, headache and weakness to more severe manifestations such as bleeding from various body openings.

As efforts intensify to raise awareness about Lassa fever, proactive measures are crucial to protect public health. The NCDC urges the use of traps to eliminate rats, refraining from direct contact with rodents and being cautious with food potentially accessed by rats to reduce infection risks. By avoiding contaminated items, individuals can actively reduce the chances of ingesting harmful substances.

With 14 new confirmed cases and one death reported in a week, the impact of Lassa fever is evident across various states. Individuals aged 31 to 40 are mostly affected, with cases recorded in 28 states and 125 local government areas. The majority of cases are concentrated in Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states, highlighting the need for collective action to combat the spread of the virus. The activation of the National Lassa Fever Multi-Partner, Multi-Sectoral Incident Management System underscores the coordinated response required at all levels.

Challenges in the fight against Lassa fever include late detection of cases, costly treatment leading to poor health-seeking behaviors, inadequate environmental sanitation and limited awareness in high-risk communities. Collaborative efforts and adherence to preventive measures are crucial in mitigating the impact of this deadly virus.

Racheal Abujah
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