By Gabriel Olawale
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has scored Nigeria low in its response to Lassa fever outbreak even as the organisation called for more rapid diagnostic test as a way of preventing deaths.
The United Nations Organisation said that since it broke three months ago, Lassa fever has killed more than 160 people in West African countries with Nigeria accounting for 85 percent (138) out of 164 Lassa fever deaths in the region.
“Since November 2015, Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone and Togo have reported more than 300 cases of Lassa fever and 164 deaths. Nigeria accounts for the majority of the cases with 266 cases and 138 deaths reported in 22 of the country’s 34 provinces. Benin has recorded 51 cases and 25 deaths, Togo and Sierra Leone each reported 2 cases.
Without early diagnosis and treatment, 1 in 5 infections result in severe disease, where the virus affects the liver, spleen and kidneys,” explains Dr Formenty, expert in haemorrhagic fevers at WHO.
“We need resources to invest in diagnostics to easily, accurately and safely test for Lassa fever as we do for malaria and HIV. Without proper diagnosis, many people do not receive correct treatment and that is why there are Lassa fever dying each year.”