NCDC warns of rising cases of Lassa fever
Confirms 19 cases, six deaths in seven states
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has alerted Nigerians on the increasing number of Lassa fever cases even as it advised increased focus on prevention and preparedness.
A report published yesterday by the Technical Assistant (TA) Communication, NCDC, Dr. Lawal Bakare, confirmed that the country has since the beginning of this current dry season in December 2016 recorded 19 cases and six deaths in seven states.
A breakdown showed that Ogun had two cases with 100 per cent fatality; Taraba six cases with one death; Nasarawa two cases with zero death; Edo one case with no death; Ondo a case with no death; Rivers one case and no death; and Plateau with six cases and three deaths.
Further analysis indicated that Taraba and Plateau were worst hit with 63.15 per cent of the cases and 66.7 per cent of deaths.
Bakare said the NCDC, in the last quarter of 2016, commenced the implementation of its Lassa fever preparedness plan ahead of the current dry season to strengthen nationwide capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the anticipated cases.
He said the NCDC was working closely with affected states to ensure an appropriate response to these cases and social mobilisation activities and sensitisation of health workers are being scaled up.
Bakare said the outbreak response commodities that were prepositioned in the states by NCDC were being used for the response and epidemiological response activities such as contact listing and tracing in the affected states. He said states that had previously identified and resourced isolation units as they were advised were better prepared to deal with cases.
To prevent Lassa fever in the community, NCDC advised Nigerians to keep their food safe from rats and its excreta. Critically, Lassa fever transmission in healthcare settings could be prevented by strict adherence to universal precautions. Doctors and nurses were advised to hold each other accountable to insist on these precautions.
NCDC also urged Nigerians to cooperate with their respective state governments. It noted: “Lassa is endemic in Nigeria, and molecular dating suggests that Lassa virus has been circulating in Nigeria for over a thousand years and in some other West African countries for hundreds of years. The NCDC will continue to support states across the country through this dry season.
“Further information can be accessed through the toll-free call centre on 080097000010, Facebook and Twitter accounts @NCDCgov and on www.ncdc.gov.ng, ’’it stated.