Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Bauchi State Government yesterday said the death toll in the yellow fever outbreak in the state has increased to 16 out of 20 confirmed cases following the rejection of vaccination by some citizens.
The Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, who gave the updates in an interview with newsmen in his office in Bauchi yesterday, disclosed that no fewer than 119 suspected cases of yellow fever was recorded out of which 20 cases were confirmed and 16 died.
He said: “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.
“They took them to traditional healer who did his own work but the two were still unconscious. They were later taken to Bauchi, but all of them die.”
While noting that all the cases were from Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state, Mohammed said: “We are planning to visit every part of the state, most especially all the affected areas. About 55 places were today (yesterday) visited to carry outdoor spraying of all the lava sights and indoors spray and fumigation.”
He assured visitors coming to Yankari Games Reserves, where the first three cases were recorded, that vaccination points have been created while all the chalets have been provided with mosquito nets to ensure that guests are well protected.
Mohammed disclosed that at least 21 states in Nigeria have recently suffered yellow fever outbreak, but noted that only three states namely, Bauchi. Katsina and Ebonyi have been proactive to combat the incident.
He said only Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State has confirmed cases of yellow fever because it’s the depot for monkeys and chimpanzee, thanking the federal government for supplying 500,000 doses of vaccines.
He explained: “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 sights in Yankari and all the four communities around to kill the vector that carry the virus to humans.
“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.”
Mohammed revealed that there are plans to extend the vaccination to cover the entire state, adding that “the estimated population of Bauchi State is seven million and 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.”