The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Wednesday 242 people died from Lassa fever in the country this year.
The agency disclosed this in its situation report released on Wednesday.
NCDC said the deaths took place between the first and 51st week of the year, adding that there were 6, 668 suspected and 1,175 confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the outgoing year.
The figures showed a sharp increase from the 170 deaths, 4, 967 suspected cases and 817 laboratory-confirmed cases recorded during the same time in 2019.
According to NCDC, three states – Ondo, Edo, and Ebonyi accounted for the highest number of deaths, suspected and confirmed Lassa fever cases in Nigeria.
In total, 27 states recorded confirmed cases of Lassa fever across 130 local government areas in 2020, while in 2019, confirmed cases were recorded in 23 states and 86 LGAs.
Ahead of 2020/2021 Lassa fever response activities, NCDC urged state governments to prioritise the resuscitation and training of state Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR) Committee and Rapid Response Teams (RRT), intensify the risk communication activities by airing radio jingles and other public enlightenment programmes, and allocate a dedicated budget line for disease surveillance.
It also implored the governments to fully support their respective epidemiology units and maximise the investments on the COVID-19 response to implement the activities in order to reduce the risk of spread of the disease.
The agency advised members of the public to take preventive measures such as regular handwashing with soap and water, proper storage of food, and ensuring clean environment to prevent the breeding of rats and infection by Lassa fever.
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