Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital
In order to investigate the prevalence and genetic diversity of Lassa virus in Nigeria, as well as create the foundations for a study of human genetic susceptibility to Lassa Fever, the Consortium has established a study site at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH).
ISTH is located in Edo State, Nigeria where Lassa Fever is endemic with yearly outbreaks. Irrua is situated on the Ishan plateau, some 87 kilometers north of Benin City, the capital of Edo State. The strategic location of the hospital along the Benin-Abuja expressway enables it to serve the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts of Edo State, as well as parts of the Southern-Senatorial District. It also receives patients from the neighbouring states of Delta, Kogi and Ondo.
The Institute of Lassa Fever Research and Control (ILFRC) is located at ISTH. The Institute was founded in January 2007 as a response to the long history of Lassa Fever epidemics in Nigeria, the need for a more comprehensive and coordinated control program, the need to build capacity to adequately respond to the epidemics, as well as the immediate need to focus on research and advocacy.
The Institute consists of a two buildings. The first is a completed building that serves as a research laboratory that consist of 10 rooms. This lab is capable of routine RT-PCR diagnosis, sample preparation, sample storage, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), gel electrophoresis, specimen barcoding, and equipment sterilization, and will soon have ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) diagnostic capability. Staff at the laboratory include 2 Senior Research Scientists (PhD), 4 Medical Doctors with specializations in Public Health, 8 laboratory technicians, 12 community health workers and 12 research assistants. The second building, shown below, is still under construction and will serve as the ward for clinical admission of patients with Lassa Fever. Research at the site is led by Dr. Christian Happi from the University of Ibadan.