Mosquito bites expose humans to yellow fever – Health Commissioner

Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, says about 15 per cent of people bitten by mosquitoes are bound to be infected with yellow fever.

He spoke on Saturday during the fumigation and vaccination exercise against yellow fever in two affected communities.

They are Ette-Uno and Umuopu, both in Igboeze North Local Government Area, NAN reports.

He said the disease is transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, while the symptoms are a sudden fever with jaundice and yellowness of the eyes within 14 days.

“Yellow Fever is not a new disease but one of public health importance internationally and in Nigeria. It is one of the diseases controlled for in the Nigerian set of routine and mass immunisable diseases,” Obi said.

“A suspected case is anyone with a sudden onset of fever who develops jaundice (yellowness of the eyes) within 14 days it is verifiable by diagnostic tests.”

According to the statement, the state’s ministry of health has invited the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other partners for a meeting to urgently respond to the situation and prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the state.

“The Enugu state ministry of health has called for an immediate emergency operations centre meeting this morning at 10am, with representatives from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other implementing partners in the state, to articulate specific next steps to effectively respond to and control this disease in Igboeze north LGA, and prevent its spread in Enugu state.

“We are collaborating with the federal ministry of health and with nearby states to prevent its spread within Nigeria. The General Hospital, Enugu Ezike, and other hospitals in the state are prepared to provide the supportive treatment needed for Yellow Fever.’

Obi called on residents to maintain regular hygiene practices, keep their environment free from mosquitoes, and seek medical attention if they experience any symptom.

“It is transmitted by the Aedes or haemogogus specie of mosquitoes causes symptoms within 3 – 6 days of infection, which range from a mild febrile illness in some individuals to a more toxic illness that can, unfortunately, lead to death in others. Only 15 percent of infected persons enter this toxic phase.

“This is a time to continue in earnest the hygienic practices that we have become used to due to the COVID -19 pandemic, while now improving our environmental hygiene practices; keep our surroundings clean and free of overgrown bushes, ensuring that we do not allow containers and gutters around us to collect water for long periods which allows mosquitoes to breed.

“We should protect our homes by screening doors and windows with nets, and ourselves by sleeping under mosquito nets and wearing clothes that limit mosquito bites. Most of all, if you recognize the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one, please visit the nearest hospital.”

Obi advised mothers to ensure complete rounds of immunisation of their children.

He said this must include yellow fever vaccination in the ninth month of birth.

Enugu State Fire Officer, Okwudili Ohaa, led the disinfection exercise.

Chairman of the LGA, Ejike Itodo, appealed to the public to abide by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols to forestall epidemics.