Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC says Lassa Fever has claimed lives of 43 people from across the country in the last two months out of 193 cases who have tested positive to the virus.
In a statement released on Monday, NCDC also noted that 615 people were suspected to have contracted the virus in the past two months, with Edo state and Ondo state accounting for most cases in the 17 states the virus is currently dominant.
“The Lassa fever outbreak continued with a total of 615 suspected cases reported across 17 states. Of this, 193 have been confirmed positive to the Lassa fever virus. 43 deaths were recorded in confirmed cases giving a case fatality rate (CFR) of 23.9%.”
The Center revealed that facilities are being put in place to help establish a high identification rate of Lassa fever.
“Since the onset of the outbreak, there has been a high case identification rate through the use of standard case definition employed via the integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) strategy. This is an indication of an active and improved surveillance system. This in itself, is a part of the case detection process as all cases have to be subjected to laboratory testing for further classification and disease burden estimation.”
While regretting that there are only three centers where the virus can be detected in the country, the Center noted that prompt testing of samples provides would help provide insight into better outbreak response, good background for better projection and good use of scarce resources.
“Currently, Lassa fever testing is carried out across three (3) laboratories in Nigeria. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has provided support for all testing laboratories with provision of reagents and other consumables.”
The Center therefore appealed to state governments to invest in building and equipping laboratories while also supporting other laboratories where test of the Lassa fever virus and other disease outbreak can be carried out in the country.