Lassa Fever: Nigerian government activates nationwide emergency operations

Lassa Fever: Nigerian government activates nationwide emergency operations

With the increasing cases of Lassa fever reported across the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response activities.

Since the beginning of the year, Nigeria has been experiencing a sporadic increase in the number of Lassa fever cases and deaths.

Between January 1 and 24, a total of 195 confirmed cases were reported from 11 states country, leading to 29 deaths.

This figure is expected to rise as more states have reported cases of the disease.

Media outlets reported the announcement by Kaduna State on Saturday and other states, where cases and deaths from the disease have been confirmed.

Of the confirmed cases, 89 per cent were from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi states.
Though Lassa fever remains a major public health challenge in West Africa, Nigeria bears the highest burden of the disease.

The Nigerian health agency in a statement issued on Saturday, said the increase in the number of cases at this time of the year is not unusual, due to ecological factors

It said the National EOC includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organization, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control, and other partners.

The agency said it is also supporting states in strengthening their preparedness and response capacity.

NCDC advised that if a patient does not respond to treatment for malaria or other febrile illnesses after 48 hours, it is important to test immediately for Lassa fever.

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