Nigeria: Lassa Fever outbreak (Situation as of 12 February, 2012)


A total of 397 cases and 40 deaths (CFR: 10.1%) were reported from 11 states

Event description

The Federal Ministry of Health has notified the WHO Country Office of an outbreak of Lassa fever in 11 States of the country. Be-tween weeks 01 and 06, 2012 a total of 397 cases have been reported including 40 deaths (CFR 10.1%). 82% (326/397) of the cases and 42% (17/40) of the deaths were reported from Edo state.

Three Doctors and 4 Nurses were reported to be among the fatalities. A total of 87 cases had labor-atory confirmation (PCR) at the Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control (ILFRC) at Irrua, Edo State of Nigeria and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Virology la-boratory. The clinical presentations of the cases include sudden onset of high grade fever persisting despite anti-malarial and anti-typhoid treatments, body pains, vomit-ing, and mucosal bleeding.

Actions taken

The Federal and State health authorities are responding by providing Ribavirin and case management, clinician sensitization, surveillance and public education on preventive measures. A national Lassa Fever committee of Experts is coordinating the response. The Minister of Health held a press conference to sensitize the public on the disease. WHO is assisting the national and State health authorities to mount effective response in the areas of coordination, outbreak investigation, shipping samples for laboratory confirmation, clinician sensitization, designing and adapting health education messages and heightening surveillance. Considering the size of the country and wide geographical areas affected there is a need to strengthen the capacity of additional laboratories across the country for diagnosis as well as designate and strengthen additional health facilities to effectively manage the cases in adherence to the standard operating procedures.