The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recently disclosed the casualty figure in the recent Lassa fever outbreak across the country as it activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response activities this last Saturday, 25 January 2020.
NCDC Director General (DG), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said there 195 confirmed cases and 29 deaths were reported in 11 states as at January 24. Two Kano health workers were also confirmed dead in the recent outbreak in which 89 percent of the confirmed cases are from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi, Ihekweazu said.
“Over the last three weeks, NCDC has deployed Rapid Response Teams to support five of the affected states”, the agency noted.
“The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire led a high-level delegation to Kano State on 25 January 2020, following the deaths of two health workers infected with Lassa fever.
“In addition, NCDC has rapidly increased risk communications and community engagement activities to ensure that Nigerians are aware of the risks of Lassa fever and measures to protect themselves.
“There has been a decline in the case fatality rate of reported Lassa fever cases from 23.4 percent in 2019 to 14.8 percent this year. NCDC continues to support treatment centres across states in the country to effectively manage Lassa fever cases.
“In addition, five laboratories in Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose Lassa fever. These laboratories are critical to reducing turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.
“NCDC and the three main treatment centres in the country – Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Federal Medical Centre Owo and Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakalilki – are set to commence Lassa fever epidemiological studies that will provide data to guide research and response activities.”
The National EOC includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Environment, World Health Organization, UNICEF, US Centres for Disease Control, and other partners.
Record shows that Lassa fever virus is transmitted by rodents, which can be found in the environment.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government has confirmed a case of Lassa fever at Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, on Saturday said a 36-year-old male patient was receiving treatment at a designated Infectious Disease Control Centre.
The Ekiti State Government has also called on residents to always ensure a clean environment to prevent the outbreak of Lassa fever.
The Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, recently admonished the people to always clear the bush in their surroundings, warning them against sun-drying food items on the roadsides, where rats could have access to them.
A statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, said Egbeyemi gave the advice while monitoring the January edition of the monthly environmental sanitation.