RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: LASSA FEVER INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and partners hosted the first Lassa fever International Conference in Abuja from the 16th – 17th of January, 2019. The conference was in commemoration of the 50th year of discovery of the Lassa fever virus in a town in Nigeria. Fifty years after, cases have continued to be recorded yearly in Nigeria and other countries in West Africa.
The conference had 588 people from 14 countries in attendance including researchers, field epidemiologists, public health physicians, surveillance officers, public health laboratory scientists, high- level political office holders etc. both nationally and internationally. With the theme as Rising to the challenge, discussions were held across vaccine development, improved therapeutics and diagnostics, policy and coordination response, risk communications, animal and environmental health.
The conference provided a great opportunity for researchers, academia, field epidemiologists, clinicians and epidemiologists as well as collaborating treatment/research centres/universities to showcase some of the excellent work (including best practices and lessons learnt) that have been done over the years.
The Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Honourable Minister of State for Health, acknowledged the initiative and promised that the Government will continue to support the country’s strategy to control Lassa fever.
In concluding the conference, the Director General of NCDC provided a charge to every health worker present, to utilize the lessons from the conference in improving the approach to control the disease. In his words, ‘we may find more Lassa fever cases, but we will rise to the challenge’.
SUMMARY OF REPORTS
In the reporting week ending January 6, 2019: o There were 51 new cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) reported. None was confirmed as polio. The last reported case of polio in Nigeria was in August 2016. Active case search for AFP is being intensified with the goal to eliminate polio in Nigeria. o There was one suspected case of cholera reported from Dass LGA in Bauchi State. There was no laboratory confirmed case and no death. o There were 57 suspected cases of Lassa fever reported from 16 LGAs in nine States (Adamawa � 2, Bauchi �7, Edo �13, Nasarawa � 4, Ebonyi � 5, Ondo � 16, Plateau � 3, FCT – 3 & Taraba – 4). 25 were laboratory confirmed and seven deaths were recorded. o There were six suspected cases of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) reported from five LGAs in four States (Bauchi � 1, Kano � 1, Katsina � 2 & Ondo � 2).
Of these, none was laboratory confirmed and two deaths were recorded. o There were 181 suspected cases of measles reported from 27 States. None was laboratory confirmed and no death was recorded.
In the reporting week, all States sent in their reports except Cross River State.
Timeliness of reporting remains 89% in the current week (01) while completeness is 97% at the same period. It is very important for all States to ensure timely and complete reporting at all times, especially during an outbreak.
Source: Government of Nigeria