From Moses Emorinken, Abuja
Following reports of an increase in suspected yellow fever and deaths in Delta and Enugu State, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has rapidly commenced active case search, risk communication and community engagement, and rapid treatment of cases in the USA ensured the states.
With support from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency has also activated an Incident Management System to coordinate response activities and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in the states.
Yellow fever is a vaccine preventable disease, and a single shot provides lifelong immunity. Symptoms of the disease include yellowing of the eyes, sudden fever, headache, and body pain.
The Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu made this known in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
According to him, “The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently assisting the governments of Delta and Enugu states in response to the suspected yellow fever outbreak. This follows reports of a sudden surge in cases and deaths in some communities in both states.
On November 2-3, 2020, the state departments of health in the Delta and Enugu states notified the NCDC of cases that had symptoms suggestive of a viral hemorrhagic fever. Most of the cases showed fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice (with or without blood), among other things.
“As of November 6, 2020, three samples from Delta and one sample from Enugu tested positive for yellow fever in the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Laboratory and NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa. Additional samples from both states are being tested to confirm the causative agent of this outbreak.
“The government epidemiology teams are leading the response with support from the NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). NCDC has activated an incident management system to coordinate response activities, and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been deployed in both states.
He added, “The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) advises the public to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of yellow fever infection. Keep your surroundings clean and free of stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from developing. Use mosquito nets treated with insecticide and install screens on windows and doors to avoid mosquito bites.
“Others are – avoid self-medication; Visit a health facility right away if you feel sick and have symptoms such as a fever. Healthcare workers are reminded to maintain a high suspicion index of yellow fever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Please ensure that your child is vaccinated against yellow fever as part of the national child vaccination plan. If you are unsure about your vaccination status, please visit a health facility to get a yellow fever vaccine. “