It has been confirmed that the death toll of the yellow fever outbreak in Bauchi State has risen to 16 out of the 20 confirmed cases, following alleged rejection of vaccination by some residents in the affected communities in the state.
The confirmation was given by the Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, while giving updates on the situation during an interactive session with journalists in his office in Bauchi on Friday night.
Mohammed disclosed that since the outbreak of yellow fever about a month ago, no fewer than 119 cases were recorded out of which 20 were confirmed and 16 of the victims had died.
He said that: “We realised 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 a traditional healer, who did his own work, but they were later taken to Bauchi and all of them died.”
He also said that all the cases were from Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state where the case was first reported in Yankari Games Reserves, explaining that “we are planning to go into all the confirmed areas, about 55 places, on Monday, to carry out door spraying of all the lava sights and indoor spraying and fumigation of all the communities.”
He disclosed that for visitors coming to Yankari Games Reserves, where the first three cases of the scourge were recorded, vaccination points had been created, while in all the chalets at the reserve, mosquito nets had been provided to ensure that guests are well protected.
Mohammed said further that, at least, 21 states in Nigeria were having yellow fever outbreak, while three states, Bauchi, Katsina and Ebonyi, are now active, adding that only Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi had confirmed cases of the decease, because it was the depot for monkeys and chimpanzees.
He thanked the Federal Government for supplying 500, 000 doses of vaccines to the state, saying there had been 95 per cent compliance in the exercise.
He however explained that: “We have carried out vaccination of all the areas, including Yankari Games Reserve 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 carries 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 added that there were plans to extend the vaccination to the entire state, stating that: “The estimated population of Bauchi State is seven million. We have given 500,000 doses of vaccines already for Alkaleri Local Government Area. So, we are expecting 6.5 million doses of vaccines. We will not leave anybody unvaccinated in Bauchi State.”
It will be recalled that yellow fever outbreak was reported when some students of College of Education in Borno State died after visiting Yankari Games Reserve and suddenly developed a sickness which was later confirmed to be the ailment.