Lassa Fever: NCDC Records 227 Death, Over 1,200 Infected in 28 States

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has revealed that at least 227 deaths and 1,270 confirmed cases of Lassa fever from 28 states in Nigeria were reported in 2023.

The National Lassa Fever Technical Working Group (LF-TWG) of the NCDC has activated the national multisectoral Emergency Operations Centre for Lassa Fever (LF-EOC) in response to the fast rising number of Lassa fever patients in Nigeria.

The rise in the number of cases was reported from week 49 and associated healthcare workers’ infection for three weeks with a total of 9,155 suspected cases.

Disclosing this press statement announcing the activation of the EOC, the Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said the zones of impact of Lassa fever have been increasing across the country with risk of international exposure.

Statistics from NCDC also revealed that in 2022, Nigeria recorded a total of 1,055 cases and 189 deaths recorded within the same period, showing an increase in Lassa fever cases in the country.

Adetifa explained in the statement that the situation report as of 7th January 2023 in comparison to of 7th January 2024 revealed that although the country currently has more confirmed than week 1 of 2023, the current CFR of 11.6 per cent was lower than that for the same reporting week of 2023 (CFR of 27.6 per cent).

He said the Lassa Fever Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, would strengthen the coordination of response efforts towards reducing the spread of the infection.

He said the LF-EOC activation resulted from a risk assessment conducted by subject matter experts from relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies, stakeholders, and major partners.

The outcome of the risk assessment placed the country at “High Risk” of increased risk of Lassa fever transmission and impact due to the increased number of states reporting cases, high case fatality in confirmed cases, low index of suspicion among healthcare workers, healthcare worker infections and deaths and continued attrition of essential healthcare.

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