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NCDC, UCL, Johns Hopkins Partner For 5-Year Lassa Fever Research Plan

In collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), the University College of London (UCL), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynaecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), as well as other local and international partners are participating in a two-day colloquium and workshop on how to carry out a Lassa fever research in Nigeria.

The research colloquium aims at improving Lassa fever control in Nigeria.

A statement signed by the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said the overall aim of the colloquium was to review the current state of affairs and to identify priorities for research that will bring about a better understanding of the Lassa Fever transmission using, “a One Health approach”.

He also said the workshop would serve to, “identify means of strengthening surveillance, improve forecasting, position us for vaccine trials, and provide travel along the therapeutics development pathway all as part of the development of a 5-year Lassa fever research agenda.”

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Adetifa added that the objectives of the colloquium included providing a forum for sharing new ideas, research findings, and best practices related to Lassa fever epidemiology, case management, prevention and control, and molecular studies, to explore how to make data from new quantitative models and data sources maximally useful for on-the-ground decision-makers, and how such data products can be optimised for long-term use and to identify gaps and Lassa fever research priorities to guide the development of the next Lassa fever research agenda for Nigeria.

The DG describes the colloquium as a multi-disciplinary event that aims to bring together experts using a One Health approach from various fields to share their knowledge, experiences, and insights on Lassa fever.

The first identified in Lassa in Nigeria was in Borno State in 1969. Lassa fever has since become endemic in Nigeria and other West African countries such as Ghana, Benin Republic, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

The disease is mainly transmitted to humans by the blood, urine, or excreta of multimammate rats. Human-to-human transmission of the Lassa virus is common among close contacts of confirmed cases such as household members and healthcare workers.