29 Deaths and 195 Confirmed Cases of Lassa fever Had Been Reported in 11 States

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An ecologist extracts a sample of blood from a Mastomys Natalensis rodent in the village of Jormu in southeastern Sierra Leone February 8, 2011. Lassa fever, named after the Nigerian town where it was first identified in 1969, is among a U.S. list of "category A" diseases -- deemed to have the potential for major public health impact -- alongside anthrax and botulism. The disease is carried by the Mastomys Natalensis rodent, found across sub-Saharan Africa and often eaten as a source of protein. It infects an estimated 300,000-500,000 people each year, and kills about 5,000. Picture taken February 8, 2011. To match Reuters-Feature BIOTERROR-AFRICA/ REUTERS/Simon Akam (SIERRA LEONE - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY ANIMALS) - GM1E72F07HC01

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has disclosed that 29 deaths and 195 confirmed cases of Lassa fever had been reported in 11 states of the federation.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who disclosed this in a statement he signed in Abuja, explained that the current figures were as at Friday, January, 24.

Ihekweazu, said out of the confirmed cases, 89 per cent were from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi States.

The centre boss said that the increased number of cases at this time of the year was not unusual due to ecological factors.

According to him, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, led a high-level delegation to Kano State on Saturday, following the deaths of two health workers infected with Lassa fever.

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