Lassa fever has claimed 29 lives in 195 cases confirmed in 11 states, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Kano confirms two deaths, Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi are the most hit. The NCDC has activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to support five out of the 11 affected states.
Lassa Fever occurs all year round with increased cases during harmattan season (November through May). The disease is a viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) largely transmitted through contact with items or surfaces contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats and through contact with infected humans.
The symptoms are similar to the common fever, but with profound headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, sore throat and sometimes, bleeding from body openings. Members of the public are advised to maintain clean rodent-free homes, kitchen areas, food stores, local markets and environment.
While Nigeria is researching into the development of a vaccine, according to Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC, the agency warns that if a patient is not responsive to malaria treatment or other febrile illnesses after 48 hours, medical personnel should test for Lassa fever.
The agency says it is supporting the preparedness and response capacity of states in dealing with the disease. It emergency response infrastructure includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organization, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control, and other partners.
The National guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control, as well as Lassa fever case management, have been developed, disseminated to States and are available on the NCDC website. Please download here.
You can also contact NCDC’s Toll-free Line: 0800-970000-10, or SMS: 08099555577, WhatsApp: 07087110839 and the pages on Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov
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