By Gabriel Olawale

RECENTLY, a medical doctor and two others died of Lassa fever in  Anambra State. Another fatality recorded in Delta State also involved a medical doctor, while a third death in Gombe State, puts the total  recorded Lassa fever cases in the country at 284 with 154 deaths from August 2015 to date.

It will be recalled that in May, 2016, the World Health Organisation, WHO, put the total cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria at 273 including 149 deaths between August 2015 and May 17, 2016.

With the recent outbreak in  parts of the country, a breakdown shows that  since August 2015, 12 health care workers have been infected with the Lassa fever virus, of which four have died.

Nigeria currently has two national laboratories supporting the laboratory confirmation preocedure of Lassa fever cases using the  polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. All samples were also tested for Ebola, Dengue, and Yellow fevers and so far have been negative. The two laboratories  currently operational are the  Virology laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.”

In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said early detection and reporting of cases  significantly improves the likelihood of survival for the cases and also reduces the risk of further transmission.

All States are urged to report cases immediately for Lassa fever while improving on the timeliness of their reporting generally. The NCDC has opened communication lines where suspected cases can be reported, including its twitter handle @NCDCgov, Facebook Messenger or by calling 080097000010.

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