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LASSA FEVER TRANSMISSION IN ONDO NOW ALL YEAR ROUND -STUDY.

Experts have said transmission of Lassa fever in Ondo State has changed from being a seasonal outbreak to that where transmission takes place all year round.

Researcher, in a study of Lassa fever outbreak in the northern senatorial district of Ondo State, found the incidence of the disease increased over a three-year period, except in 2015 where the rate of those infected and confirmed cases reduced by 62.5 per cent.

The study reported that the rate of confirmed Lassa fever cases increased by 533.3 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015, 300 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016 and 19.7 per cent increase in 2018 compared to 2017, although, deaths recorded reduced from 50 per cent in 2014 to 25.3 per cent in 2018.

The study, which involved Dr Olumuyiwa John Fasipe and others at the University of Medical Sciences, in Ondo City, reported that in 2017, the Lassa fever outbreak peak occurred during February and August, and then followed by June and December.

They said that in year 2017 there was an all year round disease outbreak for Lassa fever in the state contrary to the widely circulating report that the disease outbreak is being influenced by dry seasons.

According to them, the peak of the disease outbreak in the year 2017 occurred during February and August, as this is the peak months of dry seasons and wet seasons, respectively. It was in the 2020 edition of the Medical Journal of DY Patil Vidyapeeth.

The observed seasonal variation pattern and changing epidemiology of Lassa fever disease, they, however, attributed to the challenging poor socioeconomic factors, including poverty, poor food handling habits, low level of disease transmission awareness, harmful religious beliefs and practices and unhygienic food processing habits.

They urged the government to create an intervention fund account for the management of disease outbreak; ensure the availability of fund to contain the disease as well as a continuous sensitisation of clinicians and all health caregivers on the hospital protocols to manage Lassa fever patients.

They recommended that government and all stakeholders should intensify efforts to implement the existing environmental laws against poor food handling, unhygienic, and poor sanitation.

Lassa fever virus can spread between people through direct contact with the body fluids of a person infected with Lassa fever, as well as contaminated bedding and clothing.

Nigeria is endemic for Lassa fever with an observed 21.3 per cent prevalence in a countrywide study for Nigeria. It is spread by contact with infected rodent's faeces or urine, inhaling contaminated dust, eating contaminated food or by contact with the fluids of an infected person dead or alive.

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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Apr 30, 2020
Words:489
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