Lassa fever has claimed several lives in Nigeria and it has been 50 years since it was detected in the nation.

This year alone, more than 110 persons have died as a result of the disease and the Nigerian government says it is planning a ceremony to mark the 50th year of the discovery of Lassa fever in Nigeria.

There is a plan to organise the first international conference on the disease for scientists to prioritise their research agenda for the future, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said.

The conference on deadly diseases  will seek to provide an opportunity for the scientific community to reflect on what is known, describe gaps that exist and prioritise research agenda for the future.

The Technical Assistant on Communications fr the NCDC, Jeremiah Agenyi, on Monday in Lagos said that the conference on Lassa fever would hold in Abuja from January 16 to January 17, 2019.

“Fifty years after the detection of the first Lassa fever case in Nigeria, outbreaks have been recorded yearly in parts of the country.

“The disease is also endemic in other West African countries, including Republic of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone.

“In 2018, Nigeria experienced the largest reported outbreak of Lassa fever. Of the 36 states in the country, 21 were affected,’’ Agenyi said in a statement.

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“Against this background, NCDC and partners will host the first international conference on Lassa fever in Abuja, Nigeria on Jan. 16 and 17 2019," he said.

Explaining what is expected after the conference, Agenyi said: “The 50th year of discovery of the Lassa fever virus will provide an opportunity for the scientific community to reflect on what is known, describe gaps that exist and prioritise the research agenda for the future.

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“Registration and abstract submission are now open to the public on the conference website

“The NCDC uses this opportunity to invite epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, researchers, veterinary doctors and officers, anthropologists, media officers, other professionals and members of the public in Nigeria and globally.

“And those with an interest in Lassa fever to register and be part of this milestone scientific event".

He also highlighted that Nigeria was on track to lead the research and development of Lassa fever public health solutions.

“This conference is one of the preliminary steps towards this, in order to protect the health of Nigerians and contribute to global health security,’" he added. 

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