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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 113-121

The unending threat of Lassa fever in Nigeria, what can be done; what should be done


1 Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Immunology Unit, College of Medical Sciences, PMB 1069, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria
2 Infection Prevention and Emergency Response Unit, WHO, Abuja, Nigeria
3 Emergency Response Unit, WHO, Northeast, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ballah Akawu Denue
Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Immunology Unit, College of Medical Sciences, Pmb 1069, University of Maiduguri, Borno State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/phmj.phmj_20_17

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Background: Lassa fever is known to be endemic in West African region, and Nigeria bears the most burden of the disease and case fatalities. It is worrisome and disheartening for an emerging infectious disease such as Lassa fever, to linger for 49 years but surge in incidence in a country such as Nigeria, endowed with both human and natural resources. Methods: The sources of the information presented was obtained through detailed review of literatures using Medline, Ovid and PubMed (search terms Lassa fever, Arenaviridae and viral haemorrhagic fever), case analysis, and surveys undertaking from the field, and relevant websites (such as Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Results: The possibility of a large outbreak in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Countries characterised by dearth of laboratory facilities for prompt diagnosis and personal protective equipment (PPE) and its potential use as a biological weapon has also raised the profile of this disease. Health education of the communities, improved funding through budgetary allocation for surveillance, prompt case management including laboratory facilities, training of health personnel, isolation of cases, barrier nursing, contact tracing, provision of antiviral drugs and vaccines that is effective against this disease and supply of PPE is not only necessary but also expedient in the light of the threat due to Lassa fever. Conclusion: The weak health-care delivery system in Nigeria, would continue to impede effective control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases including Lassa fever. There is an urgent need to provide resources to effectively control and prevent Lassa fever.


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