The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed that 29 deaths and 195 confirmed cases of Lassa fever had been reported in 11 states of the federation.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the centre, who disclosed this in a statement he signed on Saturday in Abuja, explained that the current figures were as of Friday, January 24.
Ihekweazu said out of the confirmed cases, 89 per cent were from Ondo, Edo and Ebonyi States.
The NCDC boss said that the increased number of cases at this time of the year was not unusual due to ecological factors.He said that in response to the increasing number of Lassa fever cases across the states in the country, NCDC activated a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on Friday to coordinate response activities.
Ihekweazu said that the EOC includes representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Environment, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, US Centre for Disease Control and other partners.
He said that NCDC would continue to support states in strengthening their preparedness and response capacity.
He added that over the last three weeks, NCDC had deployed Rapid Response Teams to support five of the affected states.
According to him, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, led a high-level delegation to Kano State on Saturday, following the deaths of two health workers infected with Lassa fever.
He, however, said that there had been a decline in the fatality rate of the reported Lassa fever cases from 23.4 per cent in 2019 to 14.8 per cent this year.
He explained that five laboratories in Nigeria have the capacity to diagnose Lassa fever in the country.
Ihekweazu said that the laboratories were critical to reducing turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and confirmation.
In a related development, Kaduna State government has confirmed a case of Lassa fever in Chukun Local Government Area but said that the patient is being treated at the designated Infectious Disease Control Centre.
This is just as Anambra State government confirmed that there is no case of Lassa fever yet in the state.
A statement signed by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, on Saturday said that tests have confirmed that the affected patient in ChukunLocal Government is a 36-year-old male.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala who revealed that there is no incidentce of Lassa Fever in the state. He spoke in Awka on Saturday while addressing newsmen over the recent resurgence of Lassa Fever in some states across the country.
According to him, Lassa fever has remained a major public health challenge in West Africa, with Nigeria bearing the highest burden.
The commissioner assured that the state government was prepared to tackle any eventuality, as the emergency operation centre and raid response teams of the Ministry of health was working round the clock to ensure that the state was safe.