There has been an outbreak of yellow fever in Bauchi State with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirming four cases in the state. It said six students and one tourist died from symptoms similar to the disease before samples from the four new cases were tested and confirmed.
The NCDC has now activated an Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate the response to the outbreak.
In a statement issued on Friday, the agency said: “Altogether, we can confirm four cases of yellow fever in people that either live or have visited Bauchi in the last one month.”
It stated that three of the confirmed cases are residents of Alkaleri Local Government Area (LGA) and the fourth case is a tourist who was visiting Kano State and also visited the Yankari Games Reserve in the same LGA in Bauchi State.”
The agency said it was first notified of the outbreak on August 29 when a laboratory in Kano comfirmed the disease in a patient.
“Subsequent investigations led by the Kano State Epidemiology Team established that this confirmed case of yellow fever was from a patient who visited the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi, in August 2019 with his father,” regretting that “unfortunately, the father died with similar symptoms before a sample could be collected and tested.”
It said: “Subsequently, on the 3rd of September 2019, the Borno State Epidemiology Team reported deaths among students of Waka College of Education in Biu LGA Borno State. These students visited the Yankari Game Resort in August 2019. Of the 95 Students that visited the resort, eight of them developed symptoms and six had died as at the time of the report. The others are in a stable condition. Samples from these cases are being tested.
The NCDC said it is now collaborating with the state epidemiologists of the affected states and the World Health Organization (WHO) country office to investigate the events.
It said: “We have also deployed a rapid response team to support Bauchi State to carry out further in-depth investigations, including case finding, risk communications, and support the management of cases. Samples of the other suspected cases from Bauchi and Borno states are currently being transported to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja for further testing.
How to identify yellow fever
The NCDC also gave details of how to identify yellow fever and what to do about it.
It said: “Yellow Fever virus is spread through bites of an infected mosquito. There is no human-to-human transmission of the virus. Yellow fever is a completely vaccine preventable disease and a single shot of the yellow fever vaccine protects for a lifetime. The yellow fever vaccine is available for free in all primary healthcare centres in Nigeria as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule. We encourage every family to ensure that children receive all their childhood vaccines.
“In addition to the vaccine, the public is advised to keep their environments clean and free of stagnant water to discourage the breeding of mosquitoes and ensure the consistent use of insecticide treated mosquito nets, screens on windows and doors to prevent access for mosquitoes. Especially, hikers, park visitors and people engaged with activities in the wild are encouraged to be vaccinated against yellow fever. It is important to avoid self-medication- visit a health facility immediately if you feel ill.
“A multi-agency Yellow Fever technical working group coordinated by NCDC, has been leading the preparedness and response to yellow fever in Nigeria. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency is leading efforts to provide an additional opportunity of vaccination through preventive vaccination campaigns across the country.
“Healthcare workers and members of the public are reminded that the symptoms of yellow fever include yellowness of the eyes, sudden fever, headache and body pain. If you have these symptoms or notice someone in your community displaying them, please contact your nearest primary healthcare centre.”