Lassa fever: The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control urges Nigerians to remain calm

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With the rising number of Lassa fever cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has assured Nigerians that there is no need to panic. The centre has put measures in place to tackle the spread of Lassa fever in the country.

The message was delivered by the Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement he released on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Dr, Ihekweazu assured Nigerians that the centre is ready to curb the spread of the disease. He also said that NCDC has been actively providing emergency supplies to all states of the federation. According to Ihekweazu, the centre also deploys Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to tackle Lassa fever.

The RRTs are to partner with states in the areas of contact training, response coordination, risk communication, case management, infection prevention and control practices.
The NCDC has noted that in January, there have been about 60 new confirmed cases of Lassa fever in about eight states.

Dr. Ihekweazu said that with the rise in reported cases of Lassa fever, the NCDC has formally acknowledged this as an outbreak. Consequently, the agency has activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to manage the response.

Due to the increase in newly reported cases of Lassa fever, the NCDC declared it as an outbreak and activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response.
Dr. Ihekweazu has advised members of the public to place a lot of importance on preventing the disease by observing proper environmental sanitation and excellent personal hygiene.

How to prevent Lassa Fever?

To prevent Lassa fever, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control recommends that members of the public and health workers should:
• Store grains and other foodstuffs away from rodents
• Discard refuse promptly to prevent rodent infestation
• Avoid bush burning so as not to drive rodents from the bush into homes
• Maintain clean hands either by regular washing or using hand sanitizers
• Health workers should maintain standard precaution at all times
• All cases of malaria should be treated with suspicion; it could be Lassa fever

Dr. Ihekweazu maintains a negative RDT should always lead to other tests, especially Lassa fever. He further said that prompt diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of survival.

To round off his statement, Ihekweazu assured the general public of the Federal Government’s pledge to support public health teams in both prevention and response to public health threats.

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Written by

Julie Adeboye