NCDC declares Lassa fever outbreak

Posted by Judd-Leonard Okafor | 23 January 2019 | 1,648 times

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• Lassa fever

The Nigeria Centre for Disease for Control has activated an emergency operations centre to coordinate response to an outbreak of Lassa fever.

It declared the outbreak as more infections are reported nationwide.

“There has been an increase in the number of Lassa fever cases reported from several states across the country since the beginning of the year,” said NCDC director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu.

A total 60 confirmed cases have been reported in eight states in the first two weeks of January alone.

Recent data on outbreaks indicate a trend of infections usually occurs during the dry season, between January and April.

The emergency operations centre comprises representatives from the World Health Organization, ministries of environment, agriculture and rural development, and the US Centres for Disease Control.

NCDC has deployed rapid response teams and supplies to states to prepare for the expected Lassa fever emergency.

The teams in states will help coordinate response, trace contacts of infected individuals, manage hospitalised patients and strengthen practices to prevent and control infection.

“A national research plan has been developed, to enable its full integration into the outbreak response to gain a better understanding of the disease,” said Ihekweazu.

Lassa fever is among a group of diseases that cause bleeding.

It is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.

It can also be transmitted from person to person, particularly in hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures, according to the NCDC.

Healthcare workers in health facilities are particularly at risk.

NCDC advises Nigerians to maintain good personal hygiene and proper environmental sanitation.

Effective measures include storing grain and other foodstuffs in rodent-proof containers, disposing of garbage far from the home, maintaining clean households, and other measures to discourage rodents from entering homes, NCDC advises.

“Hand washing should be practiced frequently. The public is also advised to avoid bush burning.

•Sourced from a Daily Trust report

Source: News Express

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