Nigeria struggles with outbreak of Lassa fever

Nigeria has recently been dealing with its annual outbreak of Lassa fever.

In the wake of the recently ended West African Ebola outbreak, Nigeria is now struggling with its own outbreak, although on a smaller scale.

Lassa fever broke out in August of 2015, shortly after the first cases were reported. Since then, 159 cases have been reported -- with 82 deaths. Investigators are currently looking at the numbers, so the current figures could change. Medical professionals are testing to make sure the illness couldn’t be something else, and so far the samples have tested negative for dengue fever, yellow fever and Ebola.

Edo, Oyo, Bauchi and Taraba are the states that have been most affected with the fever. However, it is spread across 19 states. The 15 remaining states have reported fewer than five cases.

The World Health Organization is working on the response to the outbreak. It is providing support to the Federal Ministry of Health by helping them coordinate a response, as well as provide surveillance, infection prevention and case management. The organization is also providing additional training to health care professionals and clinicians.

Lassa fever occurs nearly every year in Nigeria. The height of the outbreak typically happens between December and February.

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