26 Lassa fever deaths recorded in 2022, FG activates emergency response

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced the activation of emergency response over the outbreak of Lassa fever in Nigeria and decried the increased number of cases.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, and made available to The PUNCH.

The statement read in part, “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has activated the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa Fever Emergency Operations Centre in response to the Lassa fever outbreak in some parts of the country.

“This became necessary given the increase in the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases across the country and a joint risk assessment with partners and sister agencies.

“As of January 23, 2022, a total of 115 confirmed cases with 26 deaths (a case fatality ratio of 22.6 per cent) have been reported. These cases were reported from 30 local government areas across 11 states. Furthermore, the reports in weeks one and two show the highest number of confirmed cases recorded in the last four years for the same period.

“Since 2016, the NCDC has worked hard to improve diagnostic capacity for the disease. Currently, seven laboratories can conduct confirmatory tests for Lassa fever in Nigeria and are coordinated by the NCDC National Reference Laboratory. This has improved active case detection for the disease.

“Similarly, care for affected individuals has improved with the NCDC providing support to states, including the provision of emergency medical and laboratory supplies as well as oral and intravenous Ribavirin for preventive and curative treatment to treatment centres across the country. ” The Federal Ministry of Environment is also implementing a Lassa fever environmental response campaign in high burden states.”

It added, “Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria. Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings. The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is three to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increase the chances of survival.”

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