Nine die in yellow fever outbreak, disease spreads to 16 states

Nine people have been confirmed dead from yellow fever outbreak, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said.

NCDC in its situation report on yellow fever in the country released for the first epidemiological week in 2018 said the disease has so far been confirmed in 12 local government areas across seven states.

The states are: Kwara, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara.

The current outbreak started in Ifelodun Local Government Area in Kwara State with the first case detected in a seven-year-old girl in September 2017.

The girl had no previous history of yellow fever vaccination.

She also had no travel history outside her state two years before the illness.

Since that incident, a total of 16 states, Abia, Borno, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Plateau, Zamfara, Enugu, Oyo, Anambra, Edo, Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina and Niger, have reported suspected cases.

As at January 2, a total of 358 suspected yellow fever cases had been line-listed out of which 230 blood samples collected and sent to the laboratory for confirmation, the country’s agency for disease control said.

NCDC said out of the samples collected and tested in five different Nigerian laboratories, 63 tested positive to the disease and one was inconclusive.

The same 64 samples were then sent to the World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory.

“Of the 64 (positive and inconclusive) samples sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, for laboratory confirmation, 32 were positive, 24 negative and seven results are still pending,” it stated.

The agency further said that the total number of deaths in all cases (suspected, probable and confirmed cases) is 45, with nine listed as confirmed.

The predominant age group affected are 20 years and below, accounting for 67. 8 percent and the male to female ratio was 1.6 to 1, it added.

Prof Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, after the first case in Kwara State had said the Federal Government will embark on a nationwide vaccination against the disease by December, last year, to curb its spread.

Adewole explained that the vaccination was as a result of the outbreak in Kwara State and it signified that many Nigerians are not immune to yellow fever.

Yellow fever is one of the vaccine preventable diseases which is expected to be given to children during the routine immunisation.

Adults are also required to be vaccinated and issued a yellow fever card or certificate which is meant to be asked from travellers arriving from countries with risk of the disease.

The routine yellow fever vaccination was introduced to Nigeria’s expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) in 2004.

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