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Recorded cases of Lassa fever rise to 317, NCDC says



Recorded cases of Lassa fever rise to 317, NCDC says

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that the number of recorded Lassa fever cases in Nigeria has risen to 317.

He revealed that much information in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Dr. Ihekweazu said the cases were more pronounced in three states – Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi and according to him, with the activation of the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja in addition to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), the testing capacity for diagnosing the disease had increased from two to three laboratories in the country.

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He said; “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has intensified its response to the Lassa fever outbreak as the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases from January 1 this year rose to 317 as at the 25th of February 2018, crossing the total number of confirmed cases recorded in 2017. Three states in Nigeria – Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi – carry 85 per cent of the burden of Lassa fever cases currently.

“Given the unprecedented outbreak, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has raised the activation of its Emergency Operations Centre to its highest possible level. With this escalation, all the resources available to the agency will be focused primarily on controlling this outbreak. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners are also mobilising resources to support activities of the centre and the states most affected.

“The Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in the recently held Emergency Council of Health meeting in Abuja called on all states in Nigeria to escalate their response activities. Given the present circumstances, he requested that each state urgently invest resources in protecting the health of residents of their states by carrying out risk communication activities to inform residents on simple measures to prevent infection, and what to do when they become ill.

“Healthcare workers across the country have also been re-educated on Lassa fever, especially in recognising early symptoms to ensure rapid referral for appropriate care and on the use of universal precautions to protect themselves and their patients,” he added.

Dr. Ihekweazu also said efforts are currently being made to ensure that there is a functional molecular laboratory with the capacity to test for Lassa fever in each of the six geopolitical zones in the country.



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