Lassa fever epidemic grips Nigeria as death toll rises to 70

Lassa fever is spread through the faeces and urine of rats contaminating food and household goods.
Lassa fever is spread through the faeces and urine of rats contaminating food and household goods.
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO

Lassa fever illness sweeping Nigeria with more than 1,700 confirmed cases and 70 dead is causing an emergency epidemic in the West African nation, reported Al Jazeera.

Eight Lassa fever-related deaths have been confirmed since last week, said Nigeria's National Centre for Disease Control.

The illness, first discovered in 1969 in the region of Lassa, is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person and has an incubation period of between six to 21 days.

Lassa fever is said to be spread through food and household goods contaminated with rodent waste, with symptoms including headaches, mouth ulcers, muscle aches and bleeding under the skin.


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