Date: Thu 30 Jan 2020
Source: All Africa [edited]
An epidemiologist in Ondo state, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, on Wednesday [29 Jan 2020] said the death toll from Lassa fever has risen to 20. The casualty figure was also corroborated by the state commissioner for health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro.
A total of 112 confirmed cases were said to have been recorded in the state so far just as 5 local government areas [LGAs] of the state were said to have been hit by the disease.
The affected council areas include Akoko South West, Ose, Owo, Akure South, and Ondo West LGAs, while the victims were transferred to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, and a treatment centre in Akure.
The state government last week revealed that 16 deaths had been recorded from the disease out of the 100 cases that were confirmed.
Adegbenro said the figure of the victims rose as a result of the influx of some victims from the neighbouring states to Ondo due to free treatment in the state.
"We are having the high figure because Ondo state is the only state that the treatment of Lassa fever is free of charge. I think we are having people coming from other areas to access the free treatment," he said.
The commissioner, who addressed journalists on World Neglected Tropical Diseases [NTD] Day, held on 20 Jan , said the state has been mapped for the various neglected tropical diseases [NTDs]. Some of these, he said, include onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, and human African trypanosomiasis.
He explained that the "mapping result indicates that the state has overlapping endemicity for 4 preventive chemotherapy NTDs: the onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and schistosomiasis."
He said the government was being proactive in tacking the diseases as the government had begun the distribution of the preventive chemotherapy for the NTD, adding that the distribution varies across the communities and LGAs in the state.
"The scourge of NTDs were also being addressed through mass awareness created through different print and electronic media along with specific mass administration of medicines in the endemic areas," he stated.
The commissioner also noted that the World Health Organisation had targeted most of the preventive chemotherapy of the NTDs for elimination by 2030 "in line with the Millennium Development Goal 3." [Byline: James Sowole]
[The number of Lassa fever cases in Ondo state is increasing, although not all may have originated in that state, as mentioned above. The most recent Nigeria CDC Lassa fever update indicates that Ondo and Edo states have the majority of cases (see Lassa fever - West Africa (07): Nigeria http://promedmail.org/post/20200129.6930926)
. Nigeria is now well into the period of the year when more cases usually occur, as illustrated in the graph in Figure 6 (at the source URL in above-mentioned post). There has been a peak in case numbers between weeks 1 and 11 (January-March) over the past 3 years, and it appears that this will be the case again this year (2020).
Transmission of LF virus occurs when individuals are in contact with rodent reservoir host excreta or are within healthcare facilities. The above report does not mention the circumstances under which the individuals acquired their infections. Presumably, it was from contact with the rodent reservoir or their excreta. Public education at the village level about the risks these rodents present and ways to avoid exposure is the best way to prevent most cases.
Images of the rodent reservoirs of Lassa fever virus:
_Mastomys erythroleucus_ and _Hylomyscus pamfi_:
Maps of Nigeria: