PANDORA partners from The Tanzanian National Institute of Medical Research, University College London, The Royal Veterinary College and the Istituto Nazionale per le Malattie Infettive L. Spallanzani joined Congolese partners from the Fondtion Congolese pour le Recherche Médicale, to conduct field surveillance during the current Chikungunya outbreak in Republic of Congo.
· Francesco Vairo (Epidemiologist) – Team leader
· Marco Iannetta (Physician)
· Concetta Castilletti (Virologist)
· Patrick Kija Tungu (Entomologist)
RVC, United Kingdom
· Najmul Haider (Animal health/Modelling)
1) Strengthen the surveillance system
2) Case management
3) Evaluating the entomological aspects
4) The sylvatic cycle in a ONE Health perspective
5) Modelling the epidemic
The Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Nigeria is a partner institution in PANDORA-ID-NET consortium and brings in the expertise for mobile lab deployment during outbreak of infectious diseases in any part of West Africa. In the wake of an outbreak of Lassa fever(LF) in January 2019 in communities neighbouring Federal Medical Centre Owo, Ondo State in South – West Nigeria, the mobile laboratory domiciled at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital was deployed on February 12th, 2019 to support the onsite clinical diagnosis of Lassa fever in that hospital. Prior to the deployment, suspected samples of LF were sent to Irrua for confirmation resulting in delays in clinical decisions. The deployment also provided opportunity for training of local laboratory staff in the use of PCR in the diagnosis of Viral haemorrhagic fevers like Lassa fever.
Lassa fever, caused by Lassa virus (LASV) is endemic in the West African countries of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. An annual case estimates of 100,000 to 300,000 LASV infections with 5,000 to 10,000 deaths are often cited by public health officials. However, more recent surveillance reports have noted substantial increases in the number and geographic spread of cases. Nigeria for example, recorded the worst Lassa fever outbreak in 2018 with a total of 3498 suspected cases, of which 633 were confirmed. There were 171 deaths in confirmed cases, giving a case fatality rate of 27%. From 1st January to 31st March, 2019, a total of 2034 suspected cases have been reported from 21 states with 526 cases, 121 deaths in confirmed cases and Case fatality rate of 23.0%. With the few stationary laboratories in West Africa that have capacity to confirm clinical suspicions of VHFs especially LF, the mobile laboratory becomes very useful in endemic foci in onsite case identification, clinical management, surveillance and outbreak control.