Charles Onyekwere, Abakaliki
The Ebonyi state government has confirmed the death of 16 persons following an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Ndungele community in Izzi Local Government AreA of the state.
Confirming the incident, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Achi stated that he got a distress call from a villager who raised the alarm over the incessant deaths in the community which prompted him to send some rapid response team to the village.
He noted that the outbreak is coming 21 years after the state had the last experience.
He noted that the response team immediately moved to the place and conducted case search on some of the people who have the symptoms, adding that initially, some of them where moved to Ndungele health facility, but when the case became critical, “we had to move them to the Virology Center in Abakaliki.
“Somebody called me from one of the villages in Izzi Local Government that there is a way people are dying in the village, that he is suspecting that something maybe wrong.
“On getting the call, I immediately called health workers working in the area who said no such case came to their clinic. I had to send our rapid response team to visit the place regrettably, they got there it was a case of yellow fever and unfortunately, we have had about 16 deaths from the place.
“Another set of the response team had to be moved to the place, conduct case search on those who already had the symptoms and we immediately moved those still carrying the virus to the health facility at Ndungele and when it was serious we moved some to the virology center here in Abakaliki”.
He regretted that why the death toll came rising was the refusal of the people to visit health centers or any hospital in the state adding that the people believe in local treatment of the ailment.
He said: “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 it can be treated with local herbs, that is why we recorded casualties which should not have been”.
“We have always insisted that people should make use of our health facilities in every 171 political wards in Ebonyi State, we have one health center that will serve them.”
Dr. Achi noted that someone had on the 15th of July, 2019 notified federal ministry of health and center for disease control who has in the last two weeks been in the State to access the level of the problem and thanked God they equally came with drugs and consignment.
“We are equally doing much to ensure that it does not spread to other parts of 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, within 3 days, the person will start having the yellow fever virus. It will continue to transmit the virus that is the way the virus spread in January in Benue state.
“There was outbreak of Yellow Fever in Benue State, so we are tracing how it came to Ebonyi state. Some of the patients are still in the hospital but some have been discharged.
The state government has provided all it takes to control the outbreak. All we want from our people is to report early.
“Yellow fever comes with fever, typhoid and if it is not dictated on time it will start eating blood and the person will go to coma. Some of them will go into Rena shot down that is why those who survived have to report to the hospital and go for rena test.
“It has incubation period of three to six days in the human body and after that it will start giving you signs like fever.
“It is the Aedes Specie of the mosquito that transmit the disease. The government wants to carry out general awareness campaign. That is why we say every child at the age of 9 months will be given yellow fever vaccine.”