Nigeria is working on Lassa fever vaccine – Minister

Lassa fever patients under treatment

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, says Nigeria is contributing to research for the development of Lassa fever vaccine to proffer a lasting solution to the disease.

Ehanire, who disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja, said Lassa fever was preventable and could be treated.

He said that the disease could be treated when the patient presented himself early to health care facility.

“It is important that Nigerians maintain personal hygiene, environmental hygiene and food hygiene by storing their food properly to prevent the disease.’’

According to him, there has been an increase in the number of Lassa cases reported across the country

“ As of Jan, 28, 2020; 258 confirmed cases, 41 deaths have been reported in 19 states with majority of the cases being from Ebonyi, Edo and Ondo States.

“Giving the tropical climate in Nigeria, there is high risk of infectious diseases like Lassa fever because of the vector; this also is the case for other African countries with similar environment.

“Despite increase in number of confirmed cases, the overall case fatality rate for 2020 is 15 per cent compared with 2019 which was 20 per cent.’’

The minister said while the country was moving to achieve single digit case rate, the ministry would continue to support response activities, surveillance and contact tracing in affected states.

The ministry would continue to support those activities through the deployment of rapid response team to improve case management.

“ The rapid response team has been deployed so far in five states of Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano and Borno and Ondo.

“ We have sent medical commodity and personal protective equipment to the states,’’ he said.