Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that so far, its records indicate that 195 confirmed cases of Lassa Fever have been reported in 11 states, out of which 29 persons deaths recorded.
It also disclosed that 89 percent of the confirmed cases are from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi States, and the increase in the number of cases at this time of the year was not unusual due to ecological factors.
NCDC Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement released in Abuja, on Saturday, disclosed that NCDC has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), in response to the increasing number of Lassa fever cases across states in the country.
The National EOC, he explained, include representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment, World Health Organization, UNICEF, US Centre for Disease Control, and other partners.
He disclosed that there has been a significant decline in fatality rate of reported Lassa fever cases from 23.4 percent in 2019 to 14.8 percent this year.
Ihekweazu said that NCDC has rapidly increased risk communications and community engagement activities, to ensure that Nigerians are aware of the risks of Lassa fever and measures to protect themselves.
He promised that NCDC will continue to support states in strengthening their preparedness and response capacity. “Over the last three weeks, NCDC has deployed Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to support five of the affected states,” he said.
“In addition to that, five laboratories in Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose Lassa fever. These laboratories are critical to reducing turn around time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation. It ensures prompt case management and other response activities, thereby reducing the number of deaths,” he added.