The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that 160 million Nigerians are at risk of yellow fever. The figure, WHO said, makes up around 25 per cent of all the people at risk of the disease in Africa.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The name “yellow” refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.
Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
The Medical Officer, WHO Nigeria, Dr. Anne Jean-Baptiste, said,
“Yellow fever is dangerous because a small percentage of patients will go through a more toxic phase of the disease. By then, they will experience fever, have system failure, mainly in the kidney and liver. They may experience bleeding coming from the mouth, nose and eyes and within 7 to 10 days, half of them will die.”
Nigeria being the home to some of the world’s most densely populated cities, WHO noted that the country is at risk of both urban and sylvatic (jungle) exposure to the disease. Sylvatic exposure is the transmission of yellow fever from mosquitoes that have bitten animals and non-human primates. It added that workers in mining and agriculture are particularly vulnerable to this type of transmission.
The global health body acknowledged that Nigeria has vaccinated over 45 million people against yellow fever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, said despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, his agency has given out over 66 million doses of Yellow Fever vaccines in 2020 and 2021 to protect people from the disease outbreaks.
“This achievement has been possible through routine immunisation, as well as mass vaccination campaigns that identify gaps in the population and proactively target vulnerable communities,” he noted.
The NCDC Boss said there is a strengthened surveillance for the disease;
“We have reference laboratories in the country that have been strengthened, and are being supported and assessed to make sure they are meeting all the performance parameters in terms of sample collection and referral to our reference labs in Abuja”.
But the PUNCH reports that Nigeria has recorded no fewer than 1,005 suspected yellow fever cases so far in 2022. The cases were reported from 36 states including the FCT in 390 Local Government Areas.
Please, get vaccinated against yellow fever.