Nigerian health authorities have launched an investigation into a suspected yellow fever outbreak in the southern state of Edo, according to an official on Tuesday.
Faisal Shuaib, head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), told reporters in Abuja that tests done at local laboratories had shown that samples tested positive for yellow fever in the southern state.
Shuaib said health authorities, including the NPHCDA, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Edo State Epidemiology team, and other partners were working together to rapidly conduct a comprehensive investigation and respond appropriately to the situation.
The NCDC issued a red alert on the yellow fever outbreak in Edo last Saturday.
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to jaundice that affects some patients.
“We will like to assure the general public that all the agencies involved are working swiftly to contain the spread and prevent further outbreaks,” Shuaib said.
Since September 2017, Nigeria has recorded suspected cases of yellow fever in all states in the country.
Being a yellow fever-endemic country, Nigeria has received considerable attention focus and support from WHO, UNICEF and other partners and donors following last year’s confirmed outbreaks in the country.
As of Nov. 11, 140 cases of yellow fever were being confirmed by a local laboratory in Nigeria, according to data by the NCDC.
A multi-agency yellow fever Emergency Operations Centre has been established at NCDC to coordinate the national response.
The symptoms of yellow fever include yellowness of the eyes, sudden fever, headache and body pain.
Last April, WHO launched the Elimination of Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy in Nigeria, as part of a global response to guarantee the protection and containment of yellow fever outbreaks by 2026.
On Nov. 22, the government flagged off a large yellow fever vaccination campaign, targeting 26 million children and adults in Niger, Plateau, Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi and the nation’s capital Abuja. The exercise will last till Dec. 1.