No, screenshot of Lassa fever cases, not Covid-19 numbers in Nigeria

A screenshot of a Channels TV news report is being shared on WhatsApp in Nigeria, with the claim that it shows the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country – 472 in total. 

The screenshot, with the claim, has also been widely shared on Facebook.

Channels TV is an independent Nigerian TV channel. The screenshot shows “472 confirmed cases” across the top of the TV screen, then lists some Nigerian states, with numbers in brackets, such as “Edo (167), Bauchi (14)” and “Ondo (156)”. The data is attributed to “WHO”, the World Health Organization.

There are so far more than 730,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease worldwide, with over 30,000 deaths. By 30 March 2020 Nigeria had 111 cases and one death.

Lassa fever numbers

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has made clear that the figures in the Channels TV screenshot “are reported cases of lassa fever”. 

It has discounted the “TV screen image circulating”, tweeting that it is “currently managing a national Lassa fever outbreak”.

Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic fever. People get it from contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. Nigeria has had several Lassa fever outbreaks since 2007.

As of 15 March 2020, Nigeria had had 906 confirmed cases of Lassa fever since the start of the year and 161 deaths. So far, 27 out of 36 states have confirmed at least one case of the disease. Motunrayo Joel


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