The large Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria between January and May 2018, increased our awareness of the need to have well-detailed and easily accessible guidelines, for response activities.
Although the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had coordinated the development of these guidelines in 2017, the 2018 outbreak highlighted some lessons.
We were fortunate to have contained the outbreak at the time. However, those events highlighted the potential loss of life that can occur if we were not better prepared.
The After-Action Review conducted in July 2018, demonstrated critical gaps that need to be filled to protect us from the next outbreak. These results have helped to guide the review of the national guidelines for Lassa fever case management.
This guideline provides details on how to identify a suspected case of Lassa fever, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, clinical management of Lassa fever cases including in special populations.
It is important to remember that the recommended treatment approach provided in this document are based on the best evidence available, and in consistent with the already existing WHO guidelines. We acknowledge however, that there are a lot of knowledge gaps that will require further research. Comments that aim to improve these treatment guidelines will be appreciated.
We encourage all stakeholders to carefully review this document and use it as a countryowned guide for Lassa fever management. We hope that the national guidelines for Lassa fever case management can contribute to our joint efforts, to reduce the transmission and mortality of Lassa fever in Nigeria.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control