Paul Omokuvie, Bauchi
The death toll in the Yellow Fever outbreak in Bauchi State has increased to 16 out of the 20 people confirmed to be infected following the rejection of vaccination by some citizens.
The Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, gave the update in an interview with reporters in his office in Bauchi on Friday night.
Mohammed disclosed that no fewer than 119 suspected cases of Yellow Fever was recorded out of which 20 cases were confirmed, with 16 of them dead.
“We realise that all the people that rejected vaccination are the ones dying. The last three victims four days ago refused the vaccine and all three were infected,” he said.
“They took them to a traditional healer who did his own work, but the two were still unconscious. They were later taken to Bauchi, but all of them died.”
He said all the cases were from Alkaleri local government area of the state.
The BSPHCDA Executive Secretary explained that the Agency is “planning to go into all the confirmed areas, about 55 places, on Monday to carry outdoor spraying of all the lava sites and indoor spraying and fumigation of all the communities.”
He disclosed that for visitors coming to Yankari Games Reserve, where the first three confirmed cases of Yellow Fever were recorded, vaccination points have been created, with all guest chalets fitted with mosquito nets to ensure that visitors are protected.
Mohammed disclosed that at least 21 states in Nigeria have recently experienced Yellow Fever outbreaks, with only three – Bauchi. Katsina and Ebonyi – currently active.
He said that only Alkaleri local government area in Bauchi State has confirmed cases of Yellow Fever because of its high population of monkeys and chimpanzees – animal vectors for the disease.
The BSPHCDA Chairman thanked the Federal Government for supplying 500,000 doses of vaccines, saying there has been about 95 percent compliance in the exercise.
“We have carried out vaccination of all the areas, including Yankari, and aerial spray of affected communities. We carried out aerial spay of all the lava sites in Yankari and all the four communities around to kill the vectors that carry the virus to humans,” he said.
“So, the lesson is that if you refuse vaccination you are not protected.
“All the people dying are the ones that refused to be vaccinated.
“We can only carry out supportive treatment for those infected because they already have the virus and there is no cure for the virus except prevention through vaccination, and we thank God that there is vaccination.”
Dr Mohammed revealed that there are plans to extend the vaccination to cover the entire state.
“The estimated population of Bauchi State is 7 million. We have given 500,000 doses of vaccines already for Alkaleri, so we are expecting 6.5 million vaccines. We will not leave anybody unvaccinated in Bauchi State,” he assured.