The outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria has claimed the lives of more than 100 people since the beginning of 2018.
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s figures shows the outbreak has reached record highs, with 317 laboratory confirmed cases. The disease is caused by a virus of the same family as Marburg and Ebola.
Worst-hit by the virus is the rural areas of Edo state. The state, including Lagos State are the only two states with specialized hospitals that treat the disease.
The World Health Organization said it is supporting Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s effort to contain the outbreak.
Lassa fever is spread through contact with food or items contaminated with rats’ urine or faeces or after coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. It can be prevented by enhanced hygiene and avoidance of all contact with rats.
More than 100 people were killed in 2016 in an outbreaks affecting 14 of the 36 states, including Lagos and the capital Abuja. Lassa fever is named after a town in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.