The Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, has disclosed that the death toll in the recent yellow fever outbreak in the state has risen to 16 out of 20 confirmed cases. Mohammed, who gave the updates in an interview with newsmen in his office in Bauchi at the weekend, said the increase in the death toll followed the rejection of vaccination by some residents during a statewide vaccination.
According to him, no fewer than 119 suspected cases of yellow fever were recorded in the state. He said, “We realise that all the people who rejected vaccination are the ones dying. The last three victims recorded four days ago refused the vaccine. They took them to a traditional healer but all of them died.”
Mohammed said all the cases were from Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state. He said the agency was planning to go to all the areas where there were confirmed cases on Monday, stating there were 55 places to carry outdoor spraying of all the places as well as fumigation of all the communities.” He said for visitors coming to the Yankari Games Reserve, where the first three confirmed cases of were recorded, vaccination points had been created while all the chalets had mosquitoes nets to ensure that guests were protected.
Mohammed said at least 21 states in Nigeria had yellow fever outbreak while only three states – Bauchi, Katsina and Ebonyi – were now active. He said only Alkaleri Local Government Area in Bauchi State had confirmed cases because it was a habitat for monkeys and chimpanzees. He commended the Federal Government for supplying 500,000 doses of vaccine, saying there had been 95 per cent compliance with the exercise.
“We have carried out vaccination in all the areas, including Yankari, and aerial spray of the affected communities to kill the vector that carries the virus to humans. So, the lesson is that if you refuse vaccination, you are not protected. All the people dying are the ones who refused to be vaccinated. We can only carry out supportive treatment for those infected because they already have the virus and there is no cure for the virus except prevention through vaccination,” Mohammed stated.
He said there were plans to extend the vaccination exercise to cover the entire state. He stated, “The estimated population of Bauchi State is 7 million, we have given 500,000 doses of vaccines already for Alkaleri. So, we are expecting 6.5 million vaccines. We will not leave anybody unvaccinated in Bauchi State.”