The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it is supporting Delta and Enugu States in their battle against a suspected outbreak of yellow fever.
Speaking on Saturday in Abuja, its Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the support became expedient following the reports of a sudden spike in cases and deaths in some communities in the two states.
Ihekweazu said Delta notified the NCDC about cases presenting with symptoms of Yellow Fever) on November 2, while Enugu State followed suit on November 3.
“Most of the cases presented with fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice and vomiting (with or without blood) among others.
“As of November 6, three samples from Delta and one sample from Enugu State tested positive for Yellow Fever at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Laboratory in Edo and at the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.
He said more samples were being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of the outbreak.
The director-general said that epidemiology teams from both state were leading the investigation with support from the NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the WHO.
He said that the NCDC had activated an incident management system to coordinate response activities and that it had sent Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to the two states.
“They are carrying out active case searches, risk communications and community engagement as well as ensuring prompt management of cases, while our sister agency, the NPHCDA is planning a vaccination campaign.
Yellow fever is a vaccine-preventable disease. A single vaccination provides immunity for life. 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, Ihekweazu said.
He advised Nigerians to keep their environments clean and free of stagnant water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, which cause fevers. He also advised the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
Ihekweazu also advised parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated against yellow fever as part of the national childhood routine immunisation schedule.