Lassa fever: 75 dead in six weeks, says NCDC

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Rats are carriers of Lassa fever virus

Rats are carriers of Lassa fever virus

At least 75 people have died out of 355 confirmed cases of Lassa fever across 57 local government areas in 20 states.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in a statement.

Rats are carriers of Lassa fever virus
Rats are carriers of Lassa fever virus

Ihekweazu noted that due to the intensive response to the outbreak by the centre and other partners, there had been a decrease in the number of new cases recorded weekly.

The DG said the reduction in cases was due to the early deployment of One-Health National Rapid Response Teams (RRTs), strengthening of Lassa fever treatment centres, enforcement of environmental sanitation, introduction of the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) ring strategy, risk communications activities, high level advocacy, operational research into response activities among other factors.

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He said: “In the last reporting week ending on the 17th February 2019, 25 new confirmed cases of Lassa fever were reported. So far, a total of 355 confirmed cases with 75 deaths have been recorded between January 1st and February 17th, 2019 from 20 states across 57 local government areas.

“Over the past three weeks, there has been a downward trend in new cases. The number of new cases being reported is lower, compared to the same period during the 2018 outbreak.”

Despite the reduction in new cases, response activities are being intensified at the national and state level. RRTs, which include colleagues from Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Ministry of Environment, are supporting the response in high burden states –Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Plateau and Bauchi.

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“In addition, the NCDC has supported states in ensuring full availability of drugs, personal protective equipment, reagents and other supplies required for case management and diagnosis of Lassa fever. There has been no single stock-out reported in any state,” Ihekweazu said.

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