Outbreak Investigation of Lassa Fever in Ebonyi State
Background: Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic
disease caused by an RNA virus of the family Arenaviridae. The seroprevalence
in Nigeria is about 21%. Since 1969, several outbreaks reported in various
states in Nigeria. The objective of this study was to investigate and control
the Lassa fever outbreak in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was done with
laboratory confirmation. Sociodemographic data were collected and recorded on a
line list and used for descriptive epidemiology. Blood samples were collected
for confirmation by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.
Findings: From January 22nd to March 1st, 2019 a
total of 92 suspected cases were identified; with most being between 15-44
years, (59.1%), female (62.5%) and from Abakaliki LGA (47.6%). There were 30
laboratory-confirmed cases and 12 deaths with a case fatality rate (CFR) of
40%. Following confirmation, the incidence was highest in those aged 15-44
years (66.7%), and the CFR was highest in the same age group (58.3%).
Disaggregated CFR showed a CFR of 25% in males and 50% in females. The Number
of days from onset of symptoms to the presentation at the health facility was
statistically significant with an odds ratio of 1.3 (1.009-1.700). (P-value <
Conclusion: Poor health-seeking behaviour increases
the chance of death from Lassa fever infection. It is essential to continue to
institute preventive measure like health promotion. it will increase awareness
on signs and symptoms as well as service availability of health for Lassa fever
Keywords: Lassa fever, Arenaviridae, Incidence,
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