The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has deployed its personnel to rapidly contain the outbreak of Lassa fever in more than 18 states in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement released in Abuja by Charity Warigon, communication officer for WHO in Nigeria.
The statement said: “For the Lassa fever response, 271 are involved in active case search, 235 in contact tracing and 320 in community sensitisation activities in the 18 states active states.”
According to Warigon, from January 1 to March 4, a total of 1,121 suspected cases of Lassa fever were reported across 18 states.
The states are Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau, Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, FCT, Gombe and Ekiti.
“Of these, 353 are confirmed positive, eight are probable, 723 are negative and 37 are awaiting laboratory results,” she said.
“Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 110 deaths, 78 in positive-confirmed cases, 8 in probable cases and 24 in negative cases. Case Fatality Rate in confirmed and probable cases is 23.8 percent.”
Warigon said on several instances, polio workers have provided frontline support for outbreak response, adding polio workers were essential to containing the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.
Quoting Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO country representative to Nigeria, Warigon said the polio infrastructure was originally designed towards achieving the polio eradication goals.
Alemu said 2,500 WHO personnel and 390,000 ad hoc personnel are supporting polio eradication in Nigeria.
“Now polio infrastructure has expanded its support to broader disease surveillance strengthening, outbreak response and basic health care services including immunisation,” Alemu said.
“With the imminent eradication of polio globally, plans are underway to determine how best to transition polio assets including health workers to retain their knowledge and skills.”