By Gabriel Olawale
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has confirmed cases of yellow fever in Delta and Enugu States following a sudden spike in cases and deaths in some communities in the states.
The Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said the agency was notified by the State Ministries of Health of Delta and Enugu respectively, of cases presenting with symptoms indicative of viral haemorrhagic fever.
“Most cases presented with fever, headache, and fatigue, jaundice vomiting (with or without blood) among others. On the 2nd and 3rd of November, NCDC was notified and on the 6th of November 2020, three samples from Delta and one sample from Enugu tested positive for yellow fever at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Laboratory and NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa.
He disclosed that more samples are being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of the outbreak, “The State Epidemiology Teams are leading the response with support from NCDC, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“An incident management system has been activated by NCDC to coordinate response activities and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) has been deployed to both states. The NCDC and State RRTs are carrying out active case search, risk communications and community engagement as well as ensuring prompt management of cases.
“Our sister agency, NPHCDA is working with the affected states to plan for a vaccination campaign. Yellow fever is a vaccine-preventable disease, and a single shot provides immunity for a lifetime. Symptoms of the disease include yellowness of the eyes, sudden fever, and headache and body pain.
“The yellow fever vaccine is available for free in primary health care centres in Nigeria as part of the national childhood routine immunisation schedule. The yellow fever virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.
He advised the general public to take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of yellow fever infection, “Keep your environment clean and free of stagnant water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, use insecticide treated mosquito nets and install screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquito bites. Avoid self-medication; visit a health facility immediately if you feel ill and have symptoms such as fever.
“Healthcare workers are reminded to maintain a high index of suspicion for yellow fever amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Please ensure your child is vaccinated against yellow fever as part of the national childhood routine immunisation schedule. If you are unsure of your immunisation status, please visit a health facility to receive a yellow fever vaccine.