Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:17 am
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that 80 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.
Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, Director-General of NCDC, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Nasidi noted 137 cases have been recorded since the outbreak.
“Lassa fever broke out in December 2015 but became worst in February; the total suspected case was 266 and 138 deaths in the whole country.
“He said that laboratory wise the centre recorded 137 cases and 80 deaths,’’ he said.
Nasidi said that urgent attention was needed to curb the rate at which the fever and other haemorrhagic fevers were spreading in the country.
According to him, efforts have been intensified to tackle the threat and spread of Lassa fever and other haemorrhagic fevers in the country.
He said the efforts put in place by the centre, including drugs and vaccines, contributed to the slow rate of Lassa fever spread recorded in the last 10 days.
Nasidi also said that laboratories were empowered which led to a proper diagnosis of Lassa fever.
“NCDC has not received any new case of Lassa fever in the past 10 days and the one we are suspecting has not been fully confirmed.
“This means that the outbreak has subsided but it can rise again if we do not take precautions.
“Our challenge is the high rate of deaths which is around 60 per cent of those who fall sick due to the disease.
“We need to do more to stop the spread and reduce the number of deaths,’’ Nasidi said.
The director-general said that 22 states were affected by Lassa fever with a case of one person infecting 13 people from one family in Bauchi.
However, he noted that the timely intervention of the NCDC team and with the help of the drugs administered, 10 lives were saved, while three died.
He said the centre was also working assiduously to fight against Zika virus and yellow fever.
“We are working very actively on all the haemorrhagic fevers not just Lassa fever.
“We are still monitoring and checking what is happening on Ebola; we are also working actively on flues generally.
“I just returned from Ibadan where we assembled all the NCDC epidemiologists, disease surveillance and education officers and some directors from all over the federation to make them know that time is against us.
“Through the meeting, preparation for the fight against Zika virus and endemic flues has begun,’’ he added.
The director-general lamented the threat of yellow fever from Kenya and Angola, stating that they were the biggest challenge the centre faced now.
He noted that the same mosquito that transmitted Zika virus was responsible for the transmission of yellow fever and as such efforts should be geared towards making the country inhabitable for mosquitoes.
“So if we ever have these two diseases transmitted at the same time, then, we are in for serious trouble because it will be difficult to curtail,’’ he said.
Nasidi urged Nigerians to help in the dissemination of information about the spread and prevention of Lassa fever, Zika virus and so on, as the centre was doing so much to sensitise the nation