As Nigeria’s battle against the coronavirus intensifies with fears of a second wave, another deadly infectious disease is on the rise with dozens of fatalities already recorded.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday confirmed that reported deaths from a “strange illness” in Enugu and Delta states in recent weeks were caused by yellow fever, an acute viral haemorrhagic disease that can kill within 10 days if symptoms become severe.
Authorities in Enugu on Thursday said a strange ailment had killed many people with an official saying over 50 people had died in parts of the state since early September when it began spreading.
Meanwhile, the government in Delta State on Friday confirmed that the strange disease also spreading in the state was yellow fever, according to initial investigations.
The Delta State health commissioner, Mordi Ononye, said the number of deaths recorded so far was about 22.
In a statement on Saturday, the NCDC director, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said Delta notified the NCDC about cases presenting with symptoms of yellow fever on November 2, while Enugu State followed suit on November 3.
According to the official, most of the cases had symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice and vomiting (with or without blood).
“As of November 6, three samples from Delta and one sample from Enugu State tested positive for Yellow Fever at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Laboratory in Edo and the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.”
He said the NCDC had activated an incident management system to coordinate response activities and had sent Rapid Response Teams to the two states.
“They are carrying out active case searches, risk communications and community engagement as well as ensuring prompt management of cases, while our sister agency, the NPHCDA is planning a vaccination campaign”, Mr Ihekweazu said.
He said more samples were being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of the outbreak.
The director-general said that epidemiology teams from both states were leading the investigation with support from the NCDC, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the WHO.