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Lassa fever outbreak in Southwestern Nigeria: The Ekiti state response amidst economic recession

A confirmed case in a community requires prompt isolation of affected patients, good infection prevention and control practices, and rigorous contact tracing to stop outbreaks. This study depicts the highlights of the Ekiti state’s response to its first confirmed Lassa fever outbreak. The approach used was a coordinated, and integrated rapid implementation of Lassa control measures using multidisciplinary teams. After with approproprate political will, Emmergency funds were rapidly mobilized. Seven response teams were constituted to mount an effective and high quality response. The Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and incident management system was activated to effectively coordinate the response. Clinical, epidemiological, laboratory data, surveillance records and hospital statistics were analyzed during the outbreak. Daily situation reports of the response activities were disseminated to all stakeholders. Throughout the outbreak, the state recorded one confirmed case and nine suspected cases. Their age ranges from 17 years to 53 years with the median age of 25 years. Seventy (70%) of the cases were males. The state recorded 2 deaths during the outbreak but all had negative Laboratory results. The 10 cases were detected from four LGAs across the state. Seventy percent of the cases presented with acute fever (>38°C) while 60% presented with bleeding tendencies. Other major symptoms and signs that were common among the cases were sore throat and severe headache, and generalized weakness and muscle pain. The lessons learned support the significance of intersectorial collaboration and political will in response to outbreak at the provincial or state. However, challenges to control efforts included inadequate local laboratory capacity and fear among health workers, panic response among the general populace as well as deficient emergency preparedness.

Categories: Outbreak response
Geography: Nigeria
Reference: Olomojobi Folakemi, Ojo Simeon Olurotimi, Omole Ayotunde, Onwu Victor, Bamidele Oni. Lassa Fever Outbreak in Southwestern Nigeria: The Ekiti State Response amidst Economic Recession. Central African Journal of Public Health. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2017, pp. 11-18. doi: 10.11648/j.cajph.20170302.11