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Sunday, 26 January 2020

Scare as NCDC says 29 dead, 195 infected as Lassa fever spreads to 11 states in Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the casualty figure in the recent Lassa fever outbreak across the country as it activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response activities on Saturday January 25. 

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NCDC DG, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said 195 confirmed cases and 29 deaths were reported in 11 states as of January 24. Two Kano health workers were also confirmed dead in the recent outbreak in which 89% of the confirmed cases are from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi.

Ihekweazu said; 

“Over the last three weeks, NCDC has deployed Rapid Response Teams to support five of the affected states”, the agency said.
“The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire led a high-level delegation to Kano State on the 25th of January 2020, following the deaths of two health workers infected with Lassa fever.
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“In addition, 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.
“There has been a decline in the case fatality rate of reported Lassa fever cases from 23.4% in 2019 to 14.8% this year. NCDC continues to support treatment centres across states in the country to effectively manage Lassa fever cases.
“In addition, five laboratories in Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose Lassa fever in Nigeria. These laboratories are critical to reducing turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.
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“NCDC and the three main treatment centres in the country – Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Federal Medical Centre Owo and Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakalilki – are set to commence Lassa fever epidemiological studies that will provide data to guide research and response activities.”

The National EOC includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Environment, World Health Organization, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control, and other partners.

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