For the first 28 days of 2018, Nigeria has reported a total of 297 suspected cases and 22 deaths (case fatality rate 7.4%).

Nigeria map/CIA

Cases have been reported from 13 active states (Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau, and Taraba).

Ten healthcare workers have been affected in four states – Ebonyi (7), Nasarawa (1), Kogi (1) and Benue (1), with four deaths in Ebonyi (3) and Kogi (1).

A National Lassa fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated on 22 January 2018 to coordinate the response, in conjunction with partners (WHO, CDC, UMB, AFENET, MSF and ALIMA) and a letter of notification of Lassa fever EOC activation has been sent to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A team of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) staff and Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) residents has been deployed to respond to the Ebonyi, Ondo and Edo outbreaks.

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The upsurge in Lassa fever cases and deaths since the start of 2018 is of concern. Available treatment facilities are overstretched and lack of funding is preventing contact tracing in Edo State. These challenges, coupled with problems with logistics for deployment of supplies between states, delays in samples reaching diagnostic centres and gaps in surveillance and contact tracing in some states need to be addressed urgently.

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