Abuja — At least 139 people have died from an escalating outbreak of the Lassa fever in Nigeria.
The deaths from the illness transmitted by rats have been documented from 2 960 suspected cases, of which 615 have been confirmed positive.
No less than two health workers have died, out of 18 that were infected.
Lassa broke out at the beginning of the year, the latest setback to the disease-prone West African country.
Some 22 states, out of Nigeria’s total of 36 states, have outbreaks.
Statistics by the Ministry of Health indicates the predominant age-group affected is 21-40 years old.
The disease is equally infecting males and females.
The multi-sectoral Technical Working Group, which is government’s partner in tackling the outbreak, is coordinating response activities at all levels.
Lassa fever is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur.
There is currently no approved vaccine but early supportive care with re-hydration and symptomatic treatment improve survival.
Nigeria is also suffering an outbreak of meningitis that has claimed the lives of 65 people since the beginning of the year.