3rd March, 2022
Two medical doctors have been confirmed killed by Lassa fever in the past 72 hours in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Oyo, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said on Thursday.
In a statement, the NMA described the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country as “another onslaught,” noting that it broke out “while we thought that COVID-19 had done its worst.”
“We are worried about other health workers who have had contact with the deceased unknowingly,” the NMA said.
It said it has advised other affected health workers to be quarantined and treat all febrile illnesses with a high index of suspicion.
Lassa fever is usually transmitted when the saliva, urine, and excreta of multi-mammalian rats come into contact with humans through their food or water.
Human-to-human transmission is rare but can occur through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.
In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms to malaria, appearing between one and three weeks after exposure to the virus. In mild cases, the disease causes fever, fatigue, weakness, and headache.
As part of measures to contain the outbreak among medical workers, the NMA said it had directed the frontline doctors and other health workers to wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.
On Saturday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said the death toll of Lassa fever in the most populous African country had risen to 86 as of Feb. 21.
The NCDC said 74 out of the country’s 774 local government areas have been affected by this hemorrhagic fever since January.
The case fatality rate in the country so far this year has reached 19.1 percent, the NCDC said.
The NCDC said it is distributing medical response commodities to states and treatment centers, as part of measures to control the spread.
Nigeria has activated the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa fever emergency operations centre in response to the outbreak since late January.