FG gives update on Lassa fever, says death toll now 41

FG gives update on Lassa fever, says death toll now 41

The Federal Government yesterday January 28, gave an update on the Lassa fever epidemic currently spreading in many parts of the country.

Speaking at a press conference, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said the number of deaths has risen to 41 while the number of confirmed cases stand at 258.

He disclosed that the deaths occurred in 19 states with majority of the cases in Ebonyi, Edo, and Ondo states.

“Given the tropical climate in Nigeria and the abundance of the disease vectors, the high risk of infectious diseases like Lassa fever is high.

“Despite the increase in confirmed cases, the overall case-fatality rate for 2020 has been just about 15 per cent compared to the same in 2019, which was 20 per cent. A few years ago the case fatality rate was over 30 per cent.”

“We are gradually moving to achieving single digit case fatality rate, we will continue to support response activities like surveillance and contact tracking in the affected states through the development of rapid response teams for improved case management.

The Minister further stated that the NCDC,  as part of the government’s response, had activated the National Emergency Operations Centre – a technical working group for Lassa fever “and they have the mandate to ensure well-coordinated response case management and control of Lassa fever.

“The EOC, which was constituted on January 24, includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and other partners.

“While we are gradually moving towards achieving a single-digit fatality rate, we will continue to support response activities like surveillance and contact tracing in affected states through the deployment of rapid response teams for improved case management and outcomes.”

The minister  urged Nigerians to maintain personal, environmental and food hygiene and store their food properly to avoid invasion by rodents and avoid long self-medication.

 

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