The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says three states have recently reported a total of 76 deaths suspected to be from yellow fever.
Bauchi, Delta and Enugu states reported that the deaths occured between November 1 and 11, the Director General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, told the News Agency of Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the recent fatalities from ‘strange illnesses’ suspected to be yellow fever in these states.
On Friday, Mr Ihekweazu told NAN that the cases and deaths were reported to the agency by the state epidemiologists of the three affected states.
He disclosed that 74 suspected cases involving 35 deaths were reported from Delta State, 70 suspected cases with 33 deaths from Enugu, and 78 suspected cases with eight deaths from Bauchi State, respectively.
He said from preliminary investigations, three samples from Delta, one sample from Enugu, and eight samples from Bauchi were confirmed as yellow fever from the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test conducted at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, FCT.
“Between November 1 and 11, 2020, a total of 222 suspected cases, 19 confirmed cases and 76 deaths have been reported from these three states,” he said.
Mr Ihekweazu stated that most of the cases were males, with ages ranging from 1-55 years, presenting symptoms that included fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting with or without blood, epistaxis, blood in stools/urine.
According to him, as at November 7, the National Yellow Fever Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated to coordinate all response activities across the affected states.
“The State Epidemiology Team in the affected states is leading the response with support from NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
“National Rapid Response Teams (RRT) from the NCDC have been deployed to support response activities in Delta and Enugu States,” he said.
NAN reported that as at early October, Nigeria had reported a total of eight confirmed cases of yellow fever from seven LGAs across four states with no deaths, as a multi-agency yellow fever Technical Working Group coordinated by NCDC, has kicked in response activities in the country.
“Yellow fever is a vaccine-preventable disease. A single vaccination provides immunity for life. Symptoms of the disease include yellowness of the eyes, sudden fever, headache and body pain,” the NCDC boss said in a statement last Saturday.
“The yellow fever vaccine is available for free in primary health care centres in Nigeria as part of the national childhood routine immunisation schedule,” he added.
Unfortunately, the low immunization rate in the country has been a major contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of the disease in the country.
The yellow fever vaccination was introduced in Nigeria in 2004 as one of the routine vaccines expected to be given to children during routine immunisation. In spite of this, the country is still witnessing outbreaks of the disease.
The increasingly regular occurrence of yellow fever outbreaks is largely because many people are unvaccinated, according to the NCDC.