Nigerian, International Response To Lassa Outbreak Provides Model For Partnership Response To Emerging Diseases
Quartz Africa: How a Nigerian genome team contained a Lassa fever outbreak with international partners
“Lassa fever first flared across Nigeria in February 2018, 1,081 cases reported in just six weeks, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; 57 people, including four health care workers, died. … The fear for scientists and health professionals at the time was that the virus had mutated into a deadlier strain, perhaps one that can be passed through the air, like the flu. Such a change could be catastrophic. … Years of partnership and preparation between the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID), the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in southern Nigeria, and the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Broad Institute ensured the [Lassa] samples were rapidly sequenced in Nigeria by local labs. This response, marked by cooperation and in-country capability, may be the model for the years ahead, as scientists from both Broad in the U.S. and Nigeria believe the chances are high of emerging virus outbreaks occurring more frequently…” (Zarley, 3/27).