A yellow fever outbreak is currently ongoing in Nigeria with nine people confirmed dead from the disease, a report has said. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, in its situation report on yellow fever in the country released for the first epidemiological week in 2018 said the ailment has so far been confirmed in 12 local government areas across seven states. The states are: Kwara, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara. The current outbreak started in Ifelodun Local Government Area in Kwara State with the first case detected in a seven-year-old girl in September, 2017. The girl had no previous history of yellow fever vaccination.
She also had no travel history outside her state two years before the illness. Since that incident, a total of 16 states, Abia, Borno, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Plateau, Zamfara, Enugu, Oyo, Anambra, Edo, Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina and Niger, have reported suspected cases. According to NCDC, as at January 2, a total of 358 suspected yellow fever cases had been line-listed out of which 230 blood samples collected and sent to the laboratory for confirmation. The agency said out of the samples collected and tested in five different Nigerian laboratories, 63 tested positive to the disease and one was inconclusive. The same 64 samples were then sent to the WHO laboratory. “Of the 64 (positive and inconclusive) samples sent to the World Health Organisation, WHO laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for laboratory confirmation, 32 were positive, 24 negative and seven results are still pending,” it stated. NCDC also said that the total number of deaths in all cases (suspected, probable and confirmed cases) is 45, with nine listed as confirmed. The report said the predominant age group affected are 20 years and below, accounting for 67. 8 per cent and the male to female ratio was 1.6 to 1. To curb the spread of the disease, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, after the first case in Kwara state had said the federal government will embark on a nationwide vaccination against the disease by December, last year. He said the vaccination was as a result of the current outbreak in Kwara State and it signified that many Nigerians are not immune to yellow fever. Yellow fever is one of the vaccine preventable diseases which is expected to be given to children during the routine immunisation. The routine yellow fever vaccination was introduced to Nigeria’s expanded programme on immunization, EPI, in 2004. Adults are also required to be vaccinated and issued a yellow fever card or certificate which is meant to be asked from travellers arriving from countries with risk of the disease.