Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected Aedes or Haemagogus mosquitoes. Yellow Fever transmission is more common in tropical areas, regions with poor sanitation and hygiene practices, and parts of stagnant water (which is a breeding site for mosquitoes). Nigeria falls within the Yellow fever belt.
Most infected people do not experience symptoms. However, when these occur, symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue and could vary from mild to severe. In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days. In severe cases, bleeding may occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach and could present as vomiting blood or passing very dark stools.
Yellow fever can be prevented by administration of the Yellow fever vaccine which is available in health facilities and confers lifelong protection. Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, intensive supportive care can be provided. Most patients would recover with appropriate care.
To reduce the spread of Yellow fever in the country following the confirmation of one case in Kwara State, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control advise that standard precautionary measures should be taken by healthcare workers and offers the following advice to Nigerians:
• Ensure that you get vaccinated against Yellow fever. A single dose of Yellow fever vaccine, which is included in Nigeria’s routine immunization schedule given at nine-months is free and sufficient to confer lifelong protection.
• Use insecticides or insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites
• Wear protective clothing to reduce mosquito bites
• Destroy breeding grounds of mosquitoes by eliminating standing water and shade in your environment.
• Sleep under a long-lasting insecticide-treated net
• Ensure proper sanitation by getting rid of stagnant water or breeding space for mosquitoes
• Health care workers are strongly advised to practice standard care precautions while handling patients at all times
• Health workers are urged to be alert and maintain a high index of suspicion. Since confirmation, the State Epidemiology Team has been working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Arbovirus and Vectors Research Centre (NAVRC), World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Office and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in carrying out a detailed investigation and risk analysis. A multi-agency Incident Management System has also been constituted at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to ensure a rapid and coordinated response.
NCDC toll-free number: 0800-970000-10