Lagos, Nigeria, Jan 12, 2016- Nigeria is facing an outbreak of Lassa fever, killing so far some 40 people. The latest two victims were in the Ondo State, southwest of the country after coming from Edo State. A dozen states are affected by the outbreak. Health authorities are on alert to prevent the spread of the disease, with dozens (up to 90) of affected patients under surveillance. Government authorities have called on religious leaders to stay vigilant and send affected people to hospitals. Bulletins have been broadcast via radio and TV.

This outbreak of Lassa fever is particularly deadly, claiming a mortality rate of more than 43%. Health authorities have also released new batches of Ribavirin, the antiviral drug for Lassa fever.

Lassa comes from poor hygiene, in particular from food contaminated by rats and rodents. The virus affects several organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen and kidneys, with an incubation period of six to two days. Affected individuals will display multiple signs, including fever, weakness, muscle pain, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, etc.

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