The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has declared the emergency phase of the 2020 Lassa fever outbreak, over.
This, according to the agency, follows a successive decline in cases below the emergency threshold, and an epidemiological review carried out by it (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
On January 24, 2020, the NCDC had declared a Lassa fever outbreak and activated a national Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).
This was in response to an increase in Lassa fever cases at the beginning of the year, exceeding the threshold for an outbreak.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, 979 confirmed cases including 188 deaths have been recorded from 27 States including the Federal Capital Territory as of April 19, 2020.
But according to the NCDC, the Lassa fever case count has significantly declined in the last three weeks and has now dropped below levels considered to be a national emergency.
“It is important to highlight that this year, there was a decline in case fatality of Lassa fever, from 23% in 2019 to 19% in 2020,” the agency said in a statement.
The agency noted that its strategic response was based on five key priorities:
1. Improved preparedness through training of health workers across the country and a nationwide communications campaign before the outbreak
2. Early deployment of One-Health Rapid Response Teams to affected States and deployment of surge staff to treatment centres
3. Establishment of new treatment centres and strengthening of existing treatment centres
4. Distribution of medical, laboratory, treatment and infection prevention and control supplies to all states with confirmed cases
5. Implementation of Lassa fever Environmental response campaign in high burden states by the Federal Ministry of Environment
Despite the end of the emergency phase of the outbreak, the NCDC says it will continue to coordinate the national multisectoral Lassa fever Technical Working Group (TWG).
This TWG would ensure continuous monitoring of cases, as well as the strengthening of Lassa fever surveillance, diagnostic, treatment and other response activities across all levels in Nigeria.