Not less than 72 people have died as the outbreak of Lassa fever reaches record highs in Nigeria. Four health workers are among the casualties while ten others are infected according to figures released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The outbreak has affected 18 states since the first case was detected on in January. A total of 2 845 people who have come into contact with patients have been identified and are being monitored.Although endemic to the West African nation, Lassa fever has never reached this case count in Nigeria before. The number of confirmed cases during the past two months alone exceeds the total number of confirmed cases reported in 2017. Health facilities are particularly overstretched in the southern states of Edo, Ebonyi and Ondo, which are the epicentre of the outbreak. “Given the large number of states affected, many people will seek treatment in health facil ities that are not appropriately prepared to care for Lassa fever patients and the risk of infection to healthcare workers is likely to increase,” warned Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Nigeria. WHO is also supporting national response efforts in neighbouring Benin, where more than 20 suspected cases have been reported. The agency is supporting the NCDC-led response with a focus on strengthening coordination, surveillance, contact tracing, laboratory testing, clinical management of patients and community engagement. Lassa fever is an acute and often fatal viral disease occurring chiefly in West Africa. It is usually acquired from infected rats.