Amid the crisis of Covid-19 pandemic, Lassa fever, another viral disease, has again resurfaced. Last Monday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) warned that the disease is ravaging many communities across the country. The gravity of the current health emergency was driven home by the large number of fatalities. At the last count, more than 4,600 patients had been infected with more than 100 deaths. Ondo State is leading the pack with 47 deaths, Edo, 15, while Bauchi and Taraba recorded 12 deaths each.
The recurrence of the epidemic is perhaps a reminder that the disease is not being given adequate attention. It is a disease of the poor since many of the reported cases are in rural areas. Even so, it had claimed the lives of many health workers, including doctors. Indeed, no fewer than 40 health workers have died of the disease in Ebonyi State alone in the past few years. Since the last outbreak in 2016, there has been an upsurge in the number of cases. In 2019, for instance, the centre recorded 796 cases while the number increased to 1,165 in 2020.