29 dead, 195 cases confirmed as Lassa fever spreads to 11 states – NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) DG, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said 195 confirmed cases and 29 deaths were reported in 11 states as of January 24. Two Kano health workers were also confirmed dead in the recent outbreak in which 89% of the confirmed cases are from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the centre said the national EOC which was set up on January 24, includes representatives of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, federal ministry of environment, World Health Organisation ( WHO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), US Centre for Disease Control, and other partners.
“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.”
Ihekweazu said in a statement;
“Over the last three weeks, NCDC has deployed Rapid Response Teams to support five of the affected states”.
“The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire led a high-level delegation to Kano State on the 25th of 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% in 2019 to 14.8% 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 in Nigeria. These laboratories are critical to reducing turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control remains committed to protecting the health of Nigerians. It is important for members of the public to practice good hygiene and take measures to protect themselves and their families.”