Declare Lassa Fever a National Emergency, NAS Urges FG

In Nigeria, the Federal Government (FG) has been urged to declare Lassa fever a public health incident of national emergency and concern.

President of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), Professor K. Mosto Onuoha, told journalists yesterday that in the last 50 years, Lassa fever has been occurring in perennial outbreaks in nearly all the states of Nigeria, with increasing numbers of suspected cases, dry season peaks and unacceptably high cases of fatality.

Onuoha said while a drug exists for the treatment of the disease, inefficient laboratory diagnosis and late admission of patients in hospitals make the drug less effective in treating Lassa fever patients.

He said the spread of the disease might have resulted from increasing human-rodent contact in an explosive population of rodents generated by pervasive poor environmental sanitation.

“Nigeria must take positive and sustained action to prevent and control Lassa fever and not wait until more fatalities are recorded as a result of the yearly occurrence,” he stressed.

Besides, Lagos State Government said as part of efforts to strengthen its preparedness and response capacity in combating public health emergencies and securities, it has commenced training for emergency response and health workers in 20 council areas and 37 local council development areas.

Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, speaking at a briefing on its emergency response plan and preparedness for epidemics, disclosed that the agency has constituted a five-man committee on Epidemic preparedness response plan, to train emergency responders at the local governments as well as carry out road shows in all the local governments to ensure information about epidemics like coronavirus and Lassa fever gets to the grassroots.

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