Despite the decline in the cases of Lassa Fever in the country, one death was recorded in Ondo State in week 22 ending on June 6, 2021, raising the total national figure to 59.

Nine persons lost their lives to the virus between week 16 and week 22.

Edo and Ondo recorded a fatality each in week 16; three deaths in week 17 in Ondo(2) and Ebonyi(1) States; and one death (Ondo) in week 19

Cumulatively, there are 292 confirmed cases of the virus in Nigeria so far across 14 states and 57 local government areas.

According to the National Centre for Disease Control, Edo and Ondo States remain the epicentre of the disease, accounting for 73 per cent of the number of confirmed cases nationwide.

Also, 39 of the 59 fatalities are from Ondo(25) and Edo(14) states, while Taraba has recorded 11 deaths; Ebonyi, 2; Bauchi, 2; Kaduna, 4: and Enugu, 1.

A slight increase in the number of confirmed case was recorded from 5 in week 21 to 6 in week 22, which is the current reported wee between May 31 and June 6,

The six new cases were recorded in Edo(4) and Ondo(2) respectively.

The Ondo State Epidemiologist, Stephen Fagbemi, said the fatality in the state during the current week occurred in a rural community and it was too late by the time the patient reached the treatment centre.

He said Lassa is still as dangerous as COVID-19 and needed to be tracked even when the cases are on the decline.

According to him, cases are being recorded given the current hardship people are facing and the funds to get quality health care are not available.

“The current hardship facing the indigent communities where these cases are recorded is not helping matters,” Mr Fagbemi said.

“It is also becoming difficult to access healthcare due to financial difficulties.

“Another factor is that some people still believe that it is a spiritual attack and would rather seek help in a spiritual places rather than seek medical attention.

“You cannot force people to the hospital, and sometimes by the time they eventually get to the hospital, it is too late.”

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