More ‘strange deaths’ reported in Enugu as yellow fever spreads

Nigeria’s Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire

The state government said it has taken samples to a Laboratory in Abuja for confirmation.

The outbreak of yellow fever in Enugu State appears to have spread to three more local government areas of the state where deaths from a ‘strange’ illness have been reported.

Enugu State has been battling to contain the outbreak of the disease in two communities – Ette Uno and Umuopu – in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed on Friday that Enugu had reported 70 suspected yellow fever cases including 33 deaths. Residents of the two communities, however, say the deaths since late October were about 52.

The NCDC said its officials are observing the situation.

On Monday, the state government confirmed it had received reports of strange deaths within communities in Nsukka, Isi-Uzo, and Igbo-Etiti LGAs.

The Commissioner of Health, Ikechukwu Obi, said the ministry’s Rapid Response Team and LGA Rapid Response Teams have visited the communities involved.

He said the visit was in collaboration with international and national partners.

Mr Obi said samples were taken 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,” he said.

Mr Obi sympathised with families who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate development.

He reminded residents of the state that “Yellow Fever is transmitted through mosquito bites.”

He urged the people to keep their environment clean and remove mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

“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 ones 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,” he said.

The NCDC chief, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had earlier said yellow fever was preventable with a vaccine.

“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 NCDC boss said in a recent statement.

“The yellow fever vaccine is available for free in primary health care centres in Nigeria as part of the national childhood routine immunisation schedule,” he added.

Source: Premium Times