NIGERIA – Nigeria has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to sensitize the general public and carry out coordinated response in an effort to contain Lassa fever outbreak which has killed 98 people in Nigeria in 2022.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by rodents infected with the Lassa fever virus.

The hemorrhagic disease is a transmittable disease where an infected person can infect others who come in contact with the infected person’s body fluid. 

Person-to-person transmission can also occur in a hospital environment with inadequate infection control measures.

Lassa fever is endemic in Nigeria and cases of the disease often increase during the dry season with 540 people infected in 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory since the beginning of 2022.

As part of the response to contain the outbreak, NCDC has collaborated with the World Health Organization and partners to activate a national multi-partner, multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response activities at all levels.

WHO has partnered with Nigeria to coordinate technical assistance and operational support of partners including deployment of OneHealth Rapid Response Teams (NRRTs) to most affected Local Government Areas.

The health organization has also mobilized experts to intervene in investigations, contact tracing, risk communication, and plans are underway to strengthen efforts to further assist Nigeria in controlling the outbreak.

WHO is protecting the Lassa fever ward staff by providing Personal Protection Equipment since the major responsible for the transmission of Lassa fever among health care workers is the poor compliance to with safety measures,” commented Dr Ekaete Tobin, a Medic at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.

He further added that WHO supplied disinfectants and waste management commodities that have greatly enabled environmental cleaning and waste segregation.

The organization has also donated coveralls, facemasks, face shields, hand sanitizers and bin liners as part of its support in combating the disease outbreak.

On coordinated response, WHO Edo State Coordinator Mrs Faith Ireye noted that Eko has the second highest cases reported in the country in the current outbreak.

She confirmed that the state has embarked on deratization using an integrated approach involving the One Health team aimed at reducing the prevalence rate in Eko state.

WHO and partners are working alongside the state ministries of Health, Agriculture and Environment using the one health approach to achieve control of vectors that carry the disease,” Mrs Faith explained.

Mrs Ireye added that WHO has been supporting the state to ensure infected people have access to quality health care services.

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