Nigeria as of Tuesday has declared a Lassa fever outbreak in the country due to the increase in the number of Lassa fever cases reported in states since the beginning of the year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said.
This is coming on the heels of the Lassa Fever International Conference held in Abuja to mark the 50th year anniversary of the discovery of the disease in the country.
Each year, Lassa fever kills many and leaves most of its survivors with a disability, often due to the side effects of the drugs they received. The viral disease is contracted from the feces of rat and often transmitted via human to human contact.
NCDC in a press statement released on Tuesday said there has been an increase in the number of Lassa fever cases reported from many states across the country since the beginning of the year. Recent epidemiological data showed that this trend usually occurs during the dry season, between January and April.
NCDC said, “As at January 13, a total of 60 confirmed cases have been reported in eight states.”
Declaring an outbreak means the NCDC has activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate a response which includes 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.
NCDC has pledged to remain committed to supporting all states’ public health teams to prevent and respond to public health threats.