The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country is at a very high risk of increased Lassa fever transmission.
In a statement on Monday, the NCDC disclosed that it has activated the national multi-sectoral emergency operations centre for Lassa fever (LF-EOC) at level 2 to coordinate and strengthen ongoing response activities in the country.
The Centre also emphasized that the operations were activated following a risk assessment carried out by its experts and relevant stakeholders on January 20.
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“The outcome of the risk assessment placed the country at a very high risk of increased Lassa fever transmission due to an unprecedented upward trend in the number of confirmed cases being reported compared to previous years, increased number of states reporting cases in comparison to previous years and increased risk of healthcare worker infections and deaths due to Lassa fever infection,” the statement partly read.
The agency stressed that Lassa fever has infected five health workers and accounted for the death of one.
“Infection and death among the healthcare workers accounted for 5 and 1 of the confirmed cases and deaths respectively, highlighting the need for an increased index of suspicion among healthcare workers.”
The NCDC said the emergency operations centre activation was aimed at achieving a coordinated national response and mitigating suffering and death due to the disease.
“Ahead of the projected rise of Lassa fever cases and as the country began to witness a rise in cases in the last week on November 2022, the NCDC prepositioned supplies for case management, infection prevention and control, laboratory diagnosis, etc. in all historical Lassa fever hotspots in the country.
“This was complemented by correspondence sent to the Honourable Commissioners of Health, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, State Ministries of Health, and respective professional bodies of healthcare workers to alert and sensitize them on the situation as well as to advocate for in-State activities to respond to Lassa fever.”