Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed four cases of yellow fever in Bauchi State. Consequently, it has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate response to the outbreak. In a statement, the director-general of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, explained that three of the confirmed cases were residents of Alkaleri Council, while the fourth was a tourist to Kano and the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi.
He said, “NCDC was first notified on August 29, when we received the report of a confirmed case of yellow fever in Kano State from a laboratory. Subsequent investigations led by the Kano State Epidemiology Team established that this confirmed case of yellow fever was a patient who visited the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi, in August 2019, with his father. Unfortunately, the father died with similar symptoms before a sample could be collected and tested.
“Subsequently, on September 3, 2019, the Borno State Epidemiology Team reported deaths among students of Waka College of Education in Biu Council. These students also visited the Yankari Game Resort in August. Of the 95 students that visited the resort, eight developed symptoms and six had died as at the time of the report. The others are in a stable condition. Samples from these cases are being tested.”
Ihekweazu, however, observed that the cause of death of the six students had not yet been confirmed, but that samples of the other suspected cases from Bauchi and Borno were being transported to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Abuja for further testing. According to him, the NCDC is collaborating with the epidemiologists of the affected states and the World Health Organisation (WHO) country office to investigate the cases.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the Federal Government to immediately embark on yellow fever immunisation to contain the outbreak across the country.