52 Years of Lassa Fever Outbreaks in Nigeria, 1969–2020: An Epidemiologic Analysis of the Temporal and Spatial Trends

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  • 1 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Medical Sciences, Edo State University, Uzairue, Edo State, Nigeria and Lahor Research Laboratories and Medical Centre, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria;
  • | 2 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria and Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, Nigeria;
  • | 3 Department of Biological Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria and African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria;
  • | 4 Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria and National Laboratory Technical Working Group, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria

The year 2020 made 52 years since the first report of Lassa fever (LF) outbreaks from Nigeria, but what progress has been made in its control? We sought to answer this through an epidemiologic analysis of the temporal and spatial trends of the outbreaks from 1969 to 2020. The analysis showed an overall strengthening of the outbreaks, hallmarked by the change from irregular to regular annual and from limited local to nationwide outbreaks, while there was a sharp contrast between the upward trend in case numbers and downward trend in case fatality. Pending the availability of effective vaccines, greater effort is required to reverse the upward trend in case numbers and sustain the downward trend in case fatality. We discuss the factors associated with the observed trends as well as the prerequisites for further improvements.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to George O. Akpede, Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Express Way, KM 70 Benin Auchi Rd., Benin City, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. E-mail: georgeakpede@yahoo.co.uk

Authors’ addresses: Dennis E. Agbonlahor, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Medical Sciences, Edo State University, Uzairue, Edo State, Nigeria, and Lahor Research Laboratories and Medical Centre, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, E-mail: deagonlahor@yahoo.com. George O. Akpede, Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria, and Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, Nigeria, E-mail: georgeakpede@yahoo.co.uk. Christian T. Happi, Department of Biological Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria and African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, Nigeria, E-mail: happi@run.edu.ng. Oyewale Tomori, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria, and National Laboratory Technical Working Group, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria, E-mail: oyewaletomori@yahoo.com.

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