• The One Health approach to incident management of the 2019 Lassa fever outbreak response in Nigeria

      Nwafor, Chioma Dan; Ilori, Elsie; Olayinka, Adebola; Ochu, Chinwe; Olorundare, Rosemary; Edeh, Edwin; Okwor, Tochi; Oyebanji, Oyeronke; Namukose, Esther; Ukponu, Winifred; et al. (Elsevier B.V., 2021-11-08)
      Globally, effective emergency response to disease outbreaks is usually affected by weak coordination. However, coordination using an incident management system (IMS) in line with a One Health approach involving human, environment, and animal health with collaborations between government and non-governmental agencies result in improved response outcome for zoonotic diseases such as Lassa fever (LF). We provide an overview of the 2019 LF outbreak response in Nigeria using the IMS and One Health approach. The response was coordinated via ten Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) response pillars. Cardinal response activities included activation of EOC, development of an incident action plan, deployment of One Health rapid response teams to support affected states, mid-outbreak review and after-action review meetings. Between 1st January and 29th December 2019, of the 5057 people tested for LF, 833 were confirmed positive from 23 States, across 86 Local Government Areas. Of the 833 confirmed cases, 650 (78%) were from hotspot States of Edo (36%), Ondo (26%) and Ebonyi (16%). Those in the age-group 21-40 years (47%) were mostly affected, with a male to female ratio of 1:1. Twenty healthcare workers were affected. Two LF naïve states Kebbi and Zamfara, reported confirmed cases for the first time during this period. The outbreak peaked earlier in the year compared to previous years, and the emergency phase of the outbreak was declared over by epidemiological week 17 based on low national threshold composite indicators over a period of six consecutive weeks. Multisectoral and multidisciplinary strategic One Health EOC coordination at all levels facilitated the swift containment of Nigeria's large LF outbreak in 2019. It is therefore imperative to embrace One Health approach embedded within the EOC to holistically address the increasing LF incidence in Nigeria.