By Seun Adeuyi
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that a yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria has killed 172 people so far.
The outbreak poses an extra challenge to the country’s health system as Africa’s most populous nation deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO said.
The country has been battling successive yellow fever outbreaks since 2017. AFP quoted WHO Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic as saying this latest outbreak was detected in November.
Jasarevic said, “As of November 24, the outbreak has been reported in five states in Nigeria: Delta, Enugu, Bauchi, Benue and Ebonyi.
“A total of 530 suspected cases have been reported, including 48 that have been confirmed by lab testing. A total of 172 deaths have been reported out of those 530 suspected cases.”
According to the WHO spokesman, sample testing was ongoing through national reference laboratories.
He said Nigerian national and state authorities were focused on the Covid-19 pandemic response, limiting the human resources required to conduct investigations and response activities for the yellow fever outbreaks.
In certain hospitals, capacity has been increased to help manage patients who develop yellow fever symptoms and complications.
Currently, 16 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have completed vaccination campaigns. The WHO said, Six more are expected to do so in the first quarter of 2021, with a further six set to do so by the end of next year, bringing the total to 28.
Nigeria has so far been spared the brunt of COVID-19, but authorities are wary of a fresh wave. More than 68,300 cases of Covid-19 have been so far been registered, and 1,179 deaths.