From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated its Lassa fever emergency operations centre to strengthen coordination of response efforts.

It said the decision was in anticipation of a possible worst case scenario considering the rapidly rising cases of Lassa fever in Nigeria.

NCDC, in a statement by its Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa, yesterday, said the outcome of the risk assessment conducted by subject matter experts from relevant ministries, departments, agencies, stakeholders, and major partners, wasn’t palatable, hence the urgent action to strengthen the response system.

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He disclosed that outcome of the risk assessment placed Nigeria at ‘high risk’ of Lassa fever transmission and impact due to increased number of states reporting the cases; high case fatality in confirmed cases; the low index of suspicion among health care workers; healthcare worker infections and deaths, continued attrition of essential healthcare.

Adetifa maintained that NCDC remains dedicated to safeguarding the health of Nigerians, and is actively working towards reducing the fatality rate to a single digit.

He recalled that in 2023, a rise in the number of cases was reported from week 49, and associated healthcare workers infection over a period of three weeks.

“The upsurge indicated an early peak into the high transmission season nationally. Although, this is usually seen from January to May, annually,” he said.