• Activate the Emergency Operations Center

• Cases rise to 244, death toll reaches 37

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control and Prevention has activated the national multi-sectoral Lassa Fever Emergency Operations Center to coordinate and strengthen ongoing response activities in the country.

This is even as he revealed that the number of confirmed Lassa fever cases has risen to 244 with 37 deaths.

The Lassa Fever Emergency Operations Center was activated following the outcome of a risk assessment that placed Nigeria at very high risk of increased Lassa fever transmission.

The assessment showed an unprecedented upward trend in the number of confirmed cases being reported compared to previous years, a greater number of states reporting cases compared to previous years, and an increased risk of infections and deaths of health care workers due to Lassa fever infection.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir of the virus is the rodent Mastomys natalensis (commonly known as the multimammal rat or African rat). Other rodents can also carry the virus.

In a press release signed by NCDC Director General Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa on Monday, the agency said the purpose of activating the EOC was to achieve a coordinated national response and especially in affected states to interrupt disease transmission. , reduce the impact of the disease by reducing suffering and death, and other socioeconomic complications of this disease.

The statement read in part: “The LF-EOC was activated following a risk assessment conducted on January 20, 2023 by subject matter experts from the NCDC, relevant ministries, departments and agencies, relevant stakeholders and partners. The result of the risk assessment placed the country at very high risk of increased transmission of Lassa fever.

“The situation report of January 22, 2023 showed a total of 244 confirmed cases with 37 deaths and a fatality rate of 15.1% from 16 states and the FCT – Ondo (90), Edo (89), Bauchi ( 13), Taraba (10), Benue (9), Ebonyi (9), Nasarawa (7), Plateau (5), Kogi (4), Anambra (2), Delta (1), Oyo (1), Adamawa ( 1), Enugu (1), Imo (1) and FCT (1).

“Infection and death among healthcare workers accounted for five and one of the confirmed cases and deaths, respectively, highlighting the need for a higher index of suspicion among healthcare workers.

“Health care is a collective responsibility of communities and governments at all levels. While NCDC is mandated to lead prevention, emergency preparedness, and response to public health emergencies, we rely on the cooperation and support of States in developing and implementing outbreak response plans based on evidence for their territories”.

He noted that prior to the activation of the EOC, the Nigerian government, through the NCDC Multi-Sectoral Lassa Fever Technical Working Group, had implemented measures to respond to the increase in Lassa fever cases.

He added that the government had repositioned medicines and commodities to support Lassa fever response management, deployed national rapid response teams to critical states to support contact tracing, case management, risk communication and community participation, among others.