Combating The Spread Of Yellow Fever
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August 25, 2016 ( Post 1 )
The World health Organisation (WHO) has raised alarm over the re-emergence of yellow fever virus in some African countries. Only recently, the Angolan Health Minister, Luís Gomes Sambo, reported to the World Health Assembly in Geneva (Switzerland), that 298 deaths have been reported among the age group of 15 and 29 years, saying that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is now rampant in the country. In April, an outbreak unrelated to that in Angola appeared in Uganda on the shore of Lake Victoria. Sequencing has shown that the strain is of local origin, but may portend more outbreaks even beyond the YF endemic zone,
Other African countries currently considered as high risk yellow fever areas are; Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.
There are increasing fears that the virus might spread to larger urban centres, as happened in 1986 in Nigeria infecting 116,000 people with 24,000 deaths. Definitely, the alarm raised by WHO should be a clarion call to the authorities on the need to take proactive measures to ward off any imminent danger in the country. Matters are made worse by the fact that Nigeria has less than 50 percent yellow fever vaccination coverage.
Even though the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Gana Muhammad, has confirmed that the country has enough vaccines to combat any outbreaks of yellow fever, we still warn against complacency and the need to embark on large-scale immunisation in those areas seen as high risk. Other emergency measures that could be implemented are mosquito control. Small fish that eat mosquito larvae are useful in cisterns and rainwater barrels, but not in small breeding sites such as plant axils, flowerpots, animal watering containers, tires and trash left out in the rain.
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