NCDC DG: virus not as deadly as painted

Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said despite global concerns about the outbreak of Coronavirus, the disease is not as deadly as the media has painted it.

He said Lassa fever could be more deadly than Coronavirus.

Ihekweazu stated this when he addressed members of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services in Abuja.

The disease was discovered in China but has spread to about 23 other countries across the globe.

The NCDC chief said there was no need for travel restriction to and from China due to the fear about the virus.

He told the lawmakers that the nation was faced with a more deadly disease in Lassa fever than the Coronavirus.

According to him, Coronavirus is a global disease with far less effect than Lassa fever.

Ihekweazu said about 364 cases of Lassa fever had been identified in 23 states with 47 deaths.

The NCDC noted that there might be more of such cases as a result of environmental issues in the country.

The director general said about one per cent of those affected by Coronavirus had died, adding that the victims were mostly aged persons or those with health-related issues.

He said human-to-human transmission of the virus had been reported in only three countries outside China.

Ihekweazu explained that there had been a coordinated international response to the disease, stressing that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned against imposing travel and business restrictions against China due to the outbreak of the disease.

On Lassa fever, the director general said there were no vaccines to control the disease.

He said the centre was working with some development partners to develop a vaccine for Lassa fever, adding that the first stage of its tests will begin soon.

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