On 7th November 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) released a statement reporting details of a suspected outbreak of Yellow Fever in Delta and Enugu States, Nigeria
The NCDC report reads as follows;
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently supporting the Delta and Enugu State Governments, in response to a suspected outbreak of yellow fever. This is following reports of a sudden spike in cases and deaths in some communities in both states. On the 2nd and 3rd of November 2020, NCDC was notified by the State Ministries of Health of Delta and Enugu States respectively, of cases presenting with symptoms indicative of a viral haemorrhagic fever. Most cases presented with fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice vomiting (with or without blood) among others.
As of 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. More samples are being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of this outbreak. The State Epidemiology Teams are leading the response with support from NCDC, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). An incident management system has been activated by NCDC to coordinate response activities and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been deployed to both states. 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.
Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These mosquitoes thrive in and near human habitations where they breed in even the cleanest water. It is reported that most cases of yellow fever occur in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America and humans and monkeys are most commonly infected. When a mosquito bites a human infected with yellow fever, the virus enters the mosquito’s bloodstream and circulates before settling in the salivary glands. When the infected mosquito bites another human, the virus then enters the host’s bloodstream, where it may cause illness.
As quoted by NCDC, “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 centers in Nigeria as part of the national childhood routine immunization schedule. The yellow fever virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito”.
NCDC further provides the following precautionary measures that people must take to reduce the risk of getting infected with yellow fever;
• Keep your 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.
• Avoid self-medication; visit a health facility immediately if you feel ill and have symptoms such as fever.
• Healthcare workers are reminded to maintain a high index of suspicion for yellow fever amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Ensure your child is vaccinated against yellow fever as part of the national childhood routine immunization schedule. If you are unsure of your immunization status, please visit a health facility to receive a yellow fever vaccine.
NCDC confirms that the Yellow Fever virus causes severe illness and death in Nigeria but will continue to work with the affected states, other government agencies, and partners to reduce the risk of spread of the disease and ensure cases are well-managed to reduce the number of deaths.