Lassa fever outbreak contained in Nigeria, WHO says

Nigeria’s largest-ever Lassa fever outbreak has been contained, with the number of cases declining over the last 6 weeks, according to WHO.

The agency cautioned that people are still at risk of contracting the virus throughout the year, and health officials are making continued efforts to control any new flare-ups.

WHO confirmed 423 reported Lassa fever cases and 106 deaths this year, with three new cases identified as of May 6, 2018. Among health care workers, 37 cases and eight deaths were reported.

However, reported case numbers have declined consistently over the past 6 weeks, and the country is no longer experiencing a national emergency, according to the agency.

Although the outbreak is under control, WHO continues to urge health care workers to remain vigilant and suspicious of Lassa fever. Standard infection prevention and control precautions are highly recommended at all times when treating patients, regardless of health status. According to a press release, protective equipment, such as gloves, face masks, face shields and aprons, should be worn around patients who are suspected of having Lassa fever. Any patients whose condition does not improve and present with fever, headache, sore throat and general body weakness should be monitored for the disease.

WHO said it will continue to support the Nigerian government to “maintain an intensified response” to the current outbreak, and the agency is working to improve neighboring countries’ level of preparedness.

WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Infectious Disease News.

Nigeria’s largest-ever Lassa fever outbreak has been contained, with the number of cases declining over the last 6 weeks, according to WHO.

The agency cautioned that people are still at risk of contracting the virus throughout the year, and health officials are making continued efforts to control any new flare-ups.

WHO confirmed 423 reported Lassa fever cases and 106 deaths this year, with three new cases identified as of May 6, 2018. Among health care workers, 37 cases and eight deaths were reported.

However, reported case numbers have declined consistently over the past 6 weeks, and the country is no longer experiencing a national emergency, according to the agency.

Although the outbreak is under control, WHO continues to urge health care workers to remain vigilant and suspicious of Lassa fever. Standard infection prevention and control precautions are highly recommended at all times when treating patients, regardless of health status. According to a press release, protective equipment, such as gloves, face masks, face shields and aprons, should be worn around patients who are suspected of having Lassa fever. Any patients whose condition does not improve and present with fever, headache, sore throat and general body weakness should be monitored for the disease.

WHO said it will continue to support the Nigerian government to “maintain an intensified response” to the current outbreak, and the agency is working to improve neighboring countries’ level of preparedness.

WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Infectious Disease News.