Lassa Fever: 41 Dead, 258 Cases Confirmed From 19 States- Health Minister

Lassa Fever: 41 Dead, 258 Cases Confirmed From 19 States- Health Minister

The Minister for health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on tuesday, revealed that 41 deaths have been recorded from Lassa fever, while 258 cases have been confirmed from 19 states

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Dr. Ehanire noted that the disease is endemic due to Nigeria’s ecological profile, Therefore, everyone has a role to play in curbing the spread.

At a briefing in Abuja, Ehanire told reporters: “Lassa fever is a disease that is indigenous to our country because it occurs every year, particularly in the dry season.

“As of the 28th of January, 2020, 258 confirmed cases and 41 deaths have been reported in 19 states, with a majority of the cases from Ebonyi, Edo and Ondo states.

“Given the tropical climate in Nigeria and the abundance of the disease vectors, the high risk of infectious diseases like Lassa fever is high.

“Despite the increase in confirmed cases, the overall case-fatality rate for 2020 has been just about 15 per cent compared to the same in 2019, which was 20 per cent.

“A few years ago the case fatality rate was over 30 per cent.”

Dr. Ehanire said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has set up an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate responses to the outbreak

“The EOC, which was constituted on January 24, includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and other partners.

“While we are gradually moving towards achieving a single-digit fatality rate, we will continue to support response activities like surveillance and contact tracing in affected states through the deployment of rapid response teams for improved case management and outcomes.

“The rapid response teams have so far been deployed to five states – Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Borno and Ondo states.

“It is important for health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion and practice universal health precautions to protect themselves from infections by using surgical masks, gloves, laboratory coats and aprons.

“Further information on Lassa fever can be obtained from the following number – 08099555577.”

NCDC Director of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge, Dr Joshua Obasanya, revealed that two health workers have died from Lassa fever out of the six affected.



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