By David Uka, Abakaliki
No fever than 16 persons have been reportedly confirmed dead and many critically receiving treatment at a hospital following an outbreak of yellow fever virus in Ndungele community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The critical ones are receiving treatment at the Viruology Centre, Abakaliki and Iboko General Hospital Izzi.
Dr. Chris Achi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in the State
who confirmed the report to newsmen in Abakaliki said the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control have intervened on the matter.
“The virus invaded the community since July 15, 2019 before the information got to the State Ministry of Health who quickly moved into the area to avoid further spread”.he said
Achi, who regretted the death of the 16 persons as a result of patronage to quacks and use of herbs to treat the outbreak appealed to the people of the state to always access the health facilities located in their area.
According to him, a special mosquito called AEDES mosquito transmittes the virus to humans and it has three to six days
incubation period in human body.
“Yes that is why we appreciate the community early information to the
authority especially when they notice that there is unusual happening.
“We have always insisted that people should make use of our health facilities in every 171 political wards in Ebonyi State, where we have a health center that will serve them.
“Incidentally about 15th of July, somebody called me from one of the villages in Izzi Local Government Area that there is a way people are dying in the village that he is suspecting that something maybe wrong,
but I called health workers there who said no such case came to their clinic.
“I sent our rapid response team to visit the place, lo and behold when they got there, it was a case of yellow fever and unfortunately ,we have had about 16 deaths from the place. So we moved to the place,conduct case search, those who already had the symptom, we moved them
to the health facility at Ndungele and when it was serious ,we moved some to the General Hospital at Iboko and virology center here in Abakaliki.
“But the problem about the outbreak was that our people did not believe that they will go to hospital when they experience this yellowness of the eyes, they believe that they can be treated with local herbs that’s why we recorded causalities which should not have been.
“We notified Federal Ministry of Health and Centre for Disease Controlontrol. For the past two weeks, they have been in Ebonyi state to ensure control and they equally came with drugs and consignment.
“We are equally doing much to ensure that it does not spread to the capital city. Yellow fever is not transmitted from human to human. It can only be transmitted through Mosquito. There are forest monkeys
that equally carry yellow fever virus and if mosquito bite the monkey and bite somebody in the forest it will pass the virus and if the mosquito bite another person, it will continue to transmit the virus
that is the way the virus spreads.Yellow fever comes with fever, typhoid and if it is not detected on time, it will start eating blood and the person will go to coma”,Achi explained.
He further recalled that in January, there was outbreak of yellow fever in Benue which is still being traced, even as he said that some of theaffected persons are still under medical care while some have been
discharged after proper medical examination and care,that the ministry is tracing the contact following outbreak of yellow fever in Benue in
January this year.