So far, 172 people have been killed by a yellow fever epidemic in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday.
As Africa’s most populous nation struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple simultaneous disease outbreaks and a humanitarian crisis in the northeast, the WHO said the outbreak presents an additional challenge to the country’s health system.
Since 2017, Nigeria has been fighting consecutive outbreaks of yellow fever. WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva this new outbreak was identified in November.
“As of November 24, the outbreak has been reported in five states in Nigeria: Delta, Enugu, Bauchi, Benue and Ebonyi,” he said.
A total of 530 suspected cases, including 48 confirmed by laboratory testing, have been identified.
Out of those 530 suspected cases, a total of 172 deaths have been confirmed.’
He said sample processing through national reference laboratories was underway.
The spokesman said that the priority of the Nigerian national and state authorities was on the Covid-19 pandemic response, restricting the human resources available to perform investigations and yellow fever outbreak response activities.
In certain hospitals, capability has been expanded to better treat the signs and complications of patients that contract yellow fever.
At present, vaccination programmes have been concluded by 16 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the federal capital territory.
In the first quarter of 2021, six more are anticipated to do so with a further six set to do so by the end of next year, taking the number to 28, the WHO added.
In certain parts of Africa, the number of people vaccinated against yellow fever remains poor, even though the vaccine is almost 100 percent effective and comparatively inexpensive.
No particular cure exists for yellow fever, which is primarily spread by mosquitoes in urban environments.
The bulk of the coronavirus pandemic has so far been saved by Nigeria, like the rest of Africa, but the authorities are mindful of a new wave.
More than 68,300 Covid-19 cases and 1,179 deaths have been reported so far.