According to the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) within the past 15 months a total 273 infections have been recorded and 149 people died from contracting Lassa fever.
“Of these, 165 cases and 89 deaths have been confirmed through laboratory testing,” the NCDC said.It is case fatality ratio of 53.9%, meaning 54 in 100 people who contracted the disease died.
According to the NCDC the latest death from Lassa fever was a female nurse at Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, who died “before the laboratory result revealed she was positive for Lassa. “This case highlights the risk Lassa fever still poses to the lives of Nigerians, particularly at this time of the year,” it said.
“Although this case has attracted media attention, especially given the involvement of a healthcare worker, in reality it is not unique as there has been a trickle of cases from many states in Nigeria, throughout the year.”
The federal health ministry has since directed NCDC to prevent a recurrence of the scale of outbreak recorded last year, and set up a Lassa fever Eradication Committee headed by epidemiologist Prof Oyewale Tomori.
NCDC has developed guidelines to strengthen states, making them able to “prevent, detect and respond to Lassa while the NCDC coordinates these efforts.”
It distributed guidelines describing necessary actions to be taken and posted the guidelines document on its website http://www.ncdc.gov.ng/diseases/guidelines.
“These guidelines describe systems, activities, and resources at National, State and Local Government Area levels required to respond to suspected cases of Lassa fever,” the centre explained.
“It builds on lessons from previous outbreaks. A copy of the guidelines was also sent to all State Ministries of Health across the country.”
It has also mapped all states based on their risk of Lassa fever.
And teams from the centre have travelled to distribute prevention and response materials and medicines to every state.
“The prepositioning of commodities has now ensured that all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria has a full complement of emergency materials comprising of personal protection equipment, Ribavirin, disinfection sprayers, hand sanitizers, hypochlorite (bleach), case definition posters, hard copies of technical guidelines and safety boxes,” it said.