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JUST IN: Lassa fever kills over 80



 Director General of the agency, Dr Jide Idris disclosed that there have been 476 confirmed cases and 2,621 suspected cases of Lassa fever were recorded in 84 local government areas as of February 18, this year.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDC) has confirmed that Lassa fever killed 84 persons across 23 states since the beginning of this year.

This was disclosed to newsmen by the Director General of the agency, Dr Jide Idris on Friday, revealing that 476 confirmed cases and 2,621 suspected cases of Lassa fever were recorded in 84 local government areas as of February 18, this year.

Dr. Idris stated that the NCDC was notified Thursday by the Kaduna State Ministry of Health of a report of deaths from probable viral hemorrhagic fever at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna.

He stated that since the notification, the NCDC has been working with both institutions to undertake a thorough examination of the suspected cases as well as ramp up response actions

“Furthermore, 25 close contacts of all these cases are now under follow up and placed on prophylactic medicine. The State Ministry of Health has also activated its Incident Management System with all the response pillars including intensified risk communication and community engagement for the prevention and control of Lassa fever in the affected communities,” Daily Trust quoted him.

Dr. Idris stated that the NCDC, through the recently activated multi-sectoral multi-disciplinary Incident Management System, has distributed medical supplies for case management, infection prevention and control, and laboratory diagnosis to all Lassa fever treatment centres in the country, as well as begun capacity building exercises for some healthcare workers across all geopolitical zones.

The NCDC Director-General stated that the agency was collaborating with other stakeholders in the Lassa fever task group to produce a vaccine for Lassa fever in order to lessen the disease’s burden in the country.

He said healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for Lassa fever, adding that they should report all suspected cases of the disease to their local government disease surveillance and notification officer to ensure prompt diagnosis, referral, and early commencement of public health actions.

He further said that the agency was also responding to other disease outbreaks including meningitis (507 cases and 63 deaths in 19 states), measles (915 suspected, 516 confirmed cases with 2 deaths in 29 states), diphtheria (16,248 cases and 646 deaths in 22 states), and cholera.

He added that health security, as outlined in the 4-point agenda by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, is a collective responsibility.

“Our people also have a crucial role to play in terms of positive health as advised,” he added.