Following the confirmation at least 60 cases of Lassa fever, the Federal Government has raised the alarm and activated emergency response centers. The government’s action signals the official declaration of the outbreak of the disease.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said in a statement there had been an increase in cases across the country since the beginning of 2019.
“As at 13 January 2019, a total of 60 confirmed cases have been reported in eight states.”
Epidemiological data show that the trend usually occurs during the dry season – between January and April.
“Given this increase in reported cases of Lassa fever, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has declared this an outbreak and activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response.”
The national EOC is comprised of representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, US Centers for Disease Control, as well as other partners.
He explained that NCDC has been providing support to states, including the provision of emergency supplies and deployment of Rapid Response Teams (RRT).
The RRTs, he said, would work with states in “response coordination, contact tracing, case management, risk communication, as well as strengthening infection prevention and control practices’’.
“Since the Lassa fever outbreak in 2018, NCDC has worked with states to ensure better preparedness and improved response,” he stated.
“In the last one year, guidelines have been revised, new data management tools have been developed and the laboratory network has been strengthened.