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SPECIAL REPORT: Yellow fever: Nigeria on brink of national emergency over deadly outbreak spreads to three LGAs

By Bright Olorungbotemi


Nearly 206,139,589 people in Nigeria are at risk, Lagos, Kano state could be next and even Enugu state have had outbreaks of the deadly disease.


Urgent action is needed to combat a yellow fever epidemic in Nigeria amid signs it is turning into a national health emergency and a severe shortage of the medical attention, VAM News editorial has warned.


With nearly a millions people at risk from the deadly disease following the report of a suspected Yellow Fever outbreak in three more local government areas of the Enugu state.


At this level, the leadership of the country should be extremely vigilant not to allow the further spread of Yellow fever like COVID-19 which started from a foreigner in Lagos state and it has spread across the nation and still counting.

Enugu State had been battling to contain the outbreak of the disease in two communities of Ette Uno and Umuopu in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state, which reportedly claimed 52 lives between late October when the outbreak was first reported and November 2020.


This newspaper learnt that the state government has also confirmed the incident, had received reports of strange deaths within communities in Nsukka, Isi-Uzo, and Igbo-Etiti LGAs.


A statement by the Commissioner of Health, Prof Ikechukwu Obi, released on Sunday night, disclosed that the ministry’s Rapid Response Team, LGA Rapid Response Teams in collaboration with International and National Partners had visited the communities to investigate the reports and had taken samples for testing.


“Following the confirmed cases of Yellow Fever in Igbo Eze North LGA of Enugu State and the concerted efforts to control the situation in the LGA by the State Government, Stakeholders and Partners; Federal and International, reports have also been received of ‘strange deaths’ within communities in Nsukka, Isi-Uzo and Igbo-Etiti LGAs.


“The Enugu State Ministry of Health Rapid Response Team, LGA Rapid Response Teams, International and National Partners have also visited these LGAs to investigate the reports and take samples for testing just as was done for the reports at Igboeze North.


“The new set of samples from these LGAs have been sent to the National Reference Laboratory at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja for a thorough and complete examination to determine conclusively the reasons for these new set of reports and the results are expected back early this week,” it reads partly


While the Health Commissioner condoled with families that lost their loved ones in the unfortunate development, reminded residents of the state that “Yellow Fever is transmitted through mosquito bites”.


He, therefore, advised that people should keep their environment clean and remove mosquito breeding sites around their homes.


He added, “Yellow Fever Vaccination is not for treatment of Yellow Fever, it is for prevention of Yellow Fever.


“If you have been recently vaccinated against Yellow Fever, you do not need to be vaccinated again.


“It takes 10 days or more for Yellow fever vaccine to start working after you have received it.


“If you or your loved one are not feeling well, please visit or take your loved one to a nearby hospital for treatment. Trained Health Workers can recognize most of the diseases of public health importance and know what to do.” 

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