Africa’s most populated country is dealing not only with Coronavirus or COVID-19 but a much deadlier epidemic.
Nigeria is fighting an epidemic known as Lassa Fever that has been around for years now but has gradually become lethal.
According to the World Economic Forum, Lassa fever, a severe viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) just like Ebola and Marburg occurs throughout the year in Nigeria and was declared an “active outbreak” by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) towards the end of 2019.
The disease is spread through contact with food or household items contaminated with urine and feces of a rat.
It can also be fatal if a human being is in contact with an infected person’s fluids or body organs. This has killed health workers, reports indicate.
The epidemic spreads during the dry season, between November and March. Nine weeks into the outbreak, Lassa Fever had claimed 144 lives across 26 states.
Dr Olubusuyi Moses Adewumi, a specialist in arenaviruses and virologist at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan in southwest Nigeria blames the spread of the epidemic on lack of proper systems to identify and monitor the circulation of the virus especially through rodents.
“In our environment, the vectors continue to have the opportunity to interact with the human population and consequently spread the virus unchecked,” he said.
While Nigeria has confirmed only two cases of coronavirus, the economy has taken a major hit with oil prices slumping.
A shortage of the US dollar has also been reported in the West African country which largely relies on the export of oil to fund it’s budget.
Kenya on the other hand confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Friday causing the Nairobi Stock Exchange to suspend trading after stock prices fell by over 15 percent,
The government has since cancelled public gatherings.