Another Viral Epidemic Is Sprouting Up, This Time InThe Africa Continent- The Lassa Fever, 42 Deaths So Far, 684 Infected, Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt Reporting Cases
While the world is focused on the China Coronavirus
, another viral infection epidemic
that started in January is gaining traction in Africa and is fast spreading as well.
, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus
. Many of those infected by the virus
do not develop symptoms. When symptoms occur they typically include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, and muscle pains.
belongs to the same family as the Ebola and Marburg viruses,
but is much less deadly.
The epidemic started in early January 2020 in Nigeria and as today has spread to nearby countries like Cameroon and Ghana with two suspected cases in Egypt.
The death toll from Lassa fever
in Nigeria since the beginning of January has risen to 42 as cases were confirmed in more regions, Nigeria's disease control agency said.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that from January 1 to January 26 a total of 684 confirmed cases, including five health workers, were reported across 19 states.
The latest figures marked an increase from 29 deaths and 195 confirmed cases given by the authorities for the period up to January 24.
is spread by contact with rat faeces or urine. It starts with fever and can, in worst case scenarios, lead to severe bleeding and organ failure.
Nigeria had a similar outbreak of Lassa fever
a year ago and around 170 people died from the virus
The number of cases usually climbs in January due to weather conditions during the dry season.
The NCDC told Thailand Medical
News that the fatality rate was down to 15.9 percent from 19.7 percent during the same period last year.
The agency said although there has been a spike in the number of deaths reported for the week, the figure is still lower than the 45 deaths reported in January 2019.
The NCDC said at the weekend that it had activated a national emergency operations centre to coordinate the response "to the increasing number of Lassa fever
cases" across the country.
The name of the virus
comes from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.
WHO officials are keeping an eye on the spread of the disease and say that its too early to declare anything at this stage.