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Clinical Profile of Lassa Fever Patients in Abakaliki, South- Eastern Nigeria, January - March 2018

Author(s): Agboeze Joseph*, Onoh Robinson, Eze Justus, Nwali Matthew and Ukaegbe Chukwuemeka

Background: Lassa fever is a zoonotic disease endemic in West Africa. Despite several outbreaks of Lassa fever in Nigeria, only few studies have been done on the clinical profile of the disease. We described the clinical profile of positive Lassa fever patients from January – March 2018 in Ebonyi state.

Methods: We analysed the epidemiological data from the case investigation forms and clinical data from the hospital records. We did univariate analysis of the socio-demographic and clinical variables and multivariate analysis to identify the independent socio demographics and clinical factors. Statistical significance level was taken at p value ≤ 0.05, at 95% confidence interval.

Results: Sixty two cases were positive with mean age of 35 ± 16.2 years. The total case fatality rate was 19%, higher among health workers (31%). The case fatality rate for patients on Ribavirin was 16%. The age group mostly affected was 30-39 years and the least 0-9 years. Most were females (59.7%) and traders (26.2%), (42.9%) had tertiary level of education. Fever (78%), headache (62%), cough (38%) and were the most reported symptoms at presentation while common complications included nasal bleeding (14%) and jaundice (6%). Having abdominal pain (p=0.0015, CI=0.022-0.500) and diarrhea (p=0.0019, CI=0.030-0.521) were related with mortality while treatment with Ribavirin (P=0.0334, OR =10) was associated with survival.

Conclusion: Diarrhea and abdominal pain were key symptoms related to mortality. Even with Ribavirin treatment, there was a high rate of fatalities underscoring the need to develop more effective and/or supplemental treatments for Lassa fever.

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