Seven people have been confirmed dead in an outbreak of Yellow Fever in northeastern Nigeria, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The first death occurred in late August 2019, when a father and son arrived at a health centre in Kano showing symptoms of the disease. Both were given immediate treatment, but the father died of the infection, and the illness was later confirmed to be Yellow Fever by the Kano State Epidemiology Team. Six further deaths form the disease were reported among students at the Waka College of Education in Borno. All of the deceased are reported to have visited the Yankari National Park in Bauchi State, where they are thought to have contracted the Mosquito-born disease, with the father and son having visited the park as part of a family excursion, and the students having been part of a group of 95 students from the college that took part in an educational trip to the park, eight of whom subsequently developed Yellow Fever symptoms. Two other people are reportedly being treated for the disease after visiting the Yankari National Park, one of whom is described as a foreign tourist.
A health worker administering Yellow Fever innoculations in Nigeria. WHO.
Yellow Fever is a Mosquito-born Flavivirus (the group of RNA Viruses that also includes the West Nile, Zika and Hepatitis C Viruses). The Virus causes a mild fever, accompanied loss of apatite, nausea and muscle pains, which passes within about 15 days. However, in about 15 % of cases a more severe infection attacks the liver and kidneys, which can lead to their failure, and therefore the death of the patient. It originated in tropical Africa and but was carried to South America and the Caribbean during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Outbreaks of the disease have also been recorded in parts of tropical Asia and the Pacific in recent years, and many countries in tropical regions require visitors to carry a certificate proving they have been vaccinated against the Virus.
Yellow fever can be prevented through vaccination, but uptake of this is considered to be dangerously low in Nigeria. To this end the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation have initiated a program to encourage immunisation within the country, with 8.7 million adults and children vaccinated in 2018, and plans to vaccinate a further 39.5 million by the end of 2019.
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