The conference which marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Lassa virus first isolated 50 years ago in Lassa, a town in Borno State in northeast Nigeria, for which it has been named, is organised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and its partners.
In preparation for the conference, the agency had called for scientific efforts into prevention, detection, and control efforts to be showcased at the conference. This yielded over 500 abstracts from which 160 top quality papers were selected. In addition, travel scholarships were granted to 80 researchers from across Nigeria and West Africa.
Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria recorded its highest death toll in 2018 with 146 dead as at December 2, and within the period 23 states reported 3,229 suspected cases of which 581 were confirmed positive, 17 probable and 2631 negative (not a case).
A statement released by the Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, explained that the conference would bring researchers and practitioners from across the world together to appraise global efforts towards the control of Lassa fever.
While noting that an improvement in the awareness and disease surveillance systems across African countries has helped in the detection of more cases he added that this has created an increased sense of urgency for the global health community to do more through better prevention, disease detection, control, and case management efforts.
“At the Lassa Fever International Conference, a global audience will learn about efforts towards new strategies to prevent transmission of the virus from rodents to human, new approaches to mitigating hospital transmission of the disease as well as new insights into the social context of Lassa transmission.”
“Current efforts on new Lassa fever vaccines, therapeutics and clinical treatment approaches will also be key highlights at the conference,” he said.
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Originally Authored By: Regina Otokpa Abuja