Alert raised as health ministry confirms yellow fever case in Kwara

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A case of yellow fever in Kwara state has been confirmed, prompting raised alert by the health ministryNigeria’s health minister, Prof Isaac Adewole, has announced the confirmation of a case of Yellow Fever in a young girl in Oke Owa Community, Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State. In a statement made available to HealthNewsNGthe minister said the laboratory diagnosis was carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and confirmed at the Institut Pasteur, Dakar, Senegal on the 12th of September 2017. 

“Following the confirmation of the case, the State Epidemiology Team has begun investigation in the affected area and surrounding communities. A joint Team from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the World Health Organisation Country Office has been deployed to support the State in carrying out a detailed investigation and risk analysis. An Outbreak Control Team has also been constituted to ensure rapid and coordinated decision-making,” the health ministry stated. 

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected aedes mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Some infected people may not experience any of these symptoms. In severe cases, bleeding may occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. 

The Honourable Minister of Health, said all the Agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health and their partners will work together to support the Government of Kwara to respond in order to prevent further spread. A vaccination campaign is already being planned in the affected area to prevent further spread. 

The most important measure to take in preventing Yellow Fever is vaccination against the disease. A single dose of Yellow Fever vaccine, which is included in Nigeria’s routine immunisation schedule given at nine-months is free, and sufficient to confer sustained protection of up to 10 years. 

‘Other methods of prevention include using insect repellent, sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide treated net, ensuring proper sanitation and getting rid of stagnant water or breeding space for mosquitoes’, Adewole said.

Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, intensive supportive care is provided. Most patients would recover with appropriate care. Health care workers are strongly advised to practise universal care precautions while handling patients at all times. They are also urged to be alert and maintain a high index of suspicion.

“The Federal Ministry of Health, its agencies and partners will provide all the support needed to the Kwara State Ministry of Health to respond to this outbreak. The Health Minister has therefore called for calm and advised everyone to avoid self-medication but report at the nearest health facility if feel unwell,” the statement concluded.

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Paul is a freelance journalist, medical researcher and extensively published author. He holds a MSc degree in cell biology and genetics, and is a PhD candidate of the University of Ibadan.

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