Researchers look for vaccine as a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever hits parts of Nigeria.
23 March 2020
Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, along with three Lassa fever treatment centres in the country, are collaborating to generate data which will support research in a bid the develop a vaccine for the viral haemorrhagic illness, Lassa fever.
According the World Health Organisation (WHO), 300 000 - 500 000 cases of Lassa fever are reported each year. Some 5000 deaths are linked to the disease. Although the rate of fatalities during January 2020 was 14.7%, compared with 23.4% for the same month in 2019, Nigeria is stepping up surveillance, detection, isolation and confirmation, as well as educating communities on the need for environmental and personal hygiene.
Nigeria is also distributing the antiviral agent ribavirin. The success of the drug relies on it being taken within the first six days of a patient displaying symptoms of Lassa fever. The illness is mainly contracted through handling items that are contaminated with the urine or faeces of rodents.
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