Mysterious disease in Delta, Enugu is yellow fever, says NCDC DG

November 7, 2020

Nigeria Centre Disease Control (NCDC), in a release, says that the reports of a sudden spike in cases and deaths in some communities in Delta and Enugu states were due to yellow fever, and it is supporting these states to respond to the problem

The release signed by Director General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said that as at 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.

According to Dr Ihekweazu, more samples are being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of this outbreak even as an incident management system has been activated by NCDC to coordinate response activities and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been deployed to both states.

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He added, “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.”

NCDC’s DG assured that the agency will continue working with the affected states, other government agencies and our partners to reduce the risk of spread of the disease and ensure cases are well managed to reduce the number of deaths.

Ihekweazu, however, asked that individuals keep their 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 and avoid self-medication if ill and have symptoms such as fever as well as ensure children are vaccinated against yellow fever as precautionary measures to reduce the risk of yellow fever infection.

He asked that healthcare workers maintain a high index of suspicion for yellow fever amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the strengthening of surveillance systems in Nigeria, a case of yellow fever was on the 12th of September 2017, 21 years after the last confirmed case. Since then, Nigeria has continued to confirm cases and clusters in Nigeria, while NPHCDA continues to deliver proactive and reactive vaccination campaigns in response.

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, 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.


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