The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said the country has recorded 115 confirmed cases and 26 deaths from Lassa fever this year.
The NCDC in a statement on Wednesday signed by its Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said the cases were reported from 30 Local Government Areas across 11 states.
“Furthermore, the reports in weeks 1 and 2 show the highest number of confirmed cases,” the statement read in parts.
Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by rodents infected with the Lassa fever virus.
Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in a hospital environment with inadequate infection control measures.
NCDC said it has activated the national multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in response to the Lassa fever outbreak in some parts of the country.
“This became necessary given the increase in the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases across the country and a joint risk assessment with partners and sister agencies,” it said.
The organisation said that since 2016, it has worked hard to improve diagnostic capacity for the disease, adding that currently, seven laboratories can conduct confirmatory tests for Lassa fever in Nigeria and are coordinated by the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL).
The statement further read, “This has improved active case detection for the disease. Similarly, care for affected individuals has improved with NCDC providing support to states including the provision of emergency medical and laboratory supplies as well as oral and intravenous Ribavirin for preventive and curative treatment to treatment centres across the country.
“In addition, Nigeria through NCDC is participating in the largest-ever Lassa fever study that aims to provide an accurate assessment of the incidence of the disease in West Africa. This will also accelerate the development of vaccines and therapeutics for Lassa fever. These are supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Wellcome Trust.”
NCDC advised Nigerians to practice good hygiene, eliminate rats from their homes, and keep their environment clean. It also health care workers to practise standard precautions and to maintain a high index of suspicion at all times.