World Health Organization has stated on Friday, that the outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria has killed 172 people so far.
According to WHO, the outbreak acts as an extra challenge to the country’s health system as Africa’s most populous nation deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, several concurrent disease outbreaks and a humanitarian crisis in the northeast.
WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic told journalists in Geneva that Nigeria has been battling successive yellow fever outbreaks since 2017 and this latest outbreak was discovered in November,
He said, “As of November 24, the outbreak has been reported in five states in Nigeria: Delta, Enugu, Bauchi, Benue and Ebonyi.”
“A total of 530 suspected cases have been reported, including 48 that have been confirmed by lab testing.
“A total of 172 deaths have been reported out of those 530 suspected cases.”
He said sample testing was ongoing through national reference laboratories.
The WHO spokesman stated that Nigerian national and state authorities were focused on the Covid-19 pandemic response, limiting the human resources required to conduct investigations and response activities for the yellow fever outbreaks.
He noted that capacity has been increased in certain hospitals to help manage patients who develop yellow fever symptoms and complications, adding that 16 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the federal capital territory have completed vaccination campaigns.
Six more are expected to do so in the first quarter of 2021, with a further six set to do so by the end of next year, bringing the total to 28, he stated.
The percentage of people immunised against yellow fever remains low in many parts of Africa, even though the vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective and relatively cheap.
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, which is largely transmitted in urban settings by mosquitoes.