Residents, Kwara govt differ on yellow fever deaths

Date: 2017-10-04

Residents in nine local government areas of Kwara State have raised the alarm of the spread of suspected yellow fever cases in their communities.

Though the Kwara State Government confirmed only two cases of yellow fever in the state, the Co-ordinator, Igbomina Mobile Clinic, Mr. Olaitan Oyin-Zubair, said more people had died than the number reported.

Oyin-Zubair claimed that 11 out of 17 yellow fever patients taken to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital had died.

According to him, three patients died at Sobi Specialist Hospital; another three died at Patigi General Hospital while two patients out of six active cases in Oro-Ago in Ifelodun LGA also died.

It could be recalled that residents of Oro-Ago had raised the alarm about a strange illness, which they claimed had killed over 60 people in the past few months.

According to Oyin-Zubair, more people are dying of the strange disease at Oro-Ago.

In a letter to the Senator Representing Kwara South, Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim, the coordinator urged the state government to take urgent steps to prevent further spread of the disease.

"Going by the active case charge carried out by the National Centre for Disease Control, the World Health Organisation, African Field Epidemiology Network, with medical experts from the state Ministry of Health, we have jointly concluded that there is a yellow fever outbreak in Kwara State.

"From their research, the following areas were declared as endemic: All the 18 wards of Ifelodun LGA; there are cases in Idofin Odo Ase in Oke-Ero LGA; Okeaba and Olla Wards in Isin LGA; Akanbi Ward in Ilorin South LGA; Agbeyangi/Gbadamu/Osin; Apado; Maraba/Pepele, and Moy/Ile Apa in Ilorin East LGA," Oyin-Subair stated.

He also said that the disease had spread to some areas in Patigi LGA.

"The team also discovered a prevalence of mosquitoes which are carriers of the disease in all the areas where the research was undertaken. The fears of the spread became heightened because the nomadic Fulani were the first to die of the disease in these areas," he added.

He suggested that the entire population of Kwara State be immunised against the disease. He identified lack of resources for massive investigation, ignorance and fear of disclosure as reasons for the poor detection of yellow fever cases in the state.

The head of the research team at NCDC in Kwara State, Dr William Nwachuku, had during the stakeholders' meeting in Ilorin, said that findings in communities revealed the prevalence of yellow fever virus and its carriers, a special breed of mosquitoes, in all the areas.

In addition to mass vaccination and immunisation, he urged the state government to embark on personal hygiene and environmental sanitation enlightenment campaign.

But the Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sulaiman Alege, said he was neither aware of the spread of the disease nor any death as a result of yellow fever in the state.

Alege said, "Basically, the information (of the spread of the disease) is not to my own confirmation because we are on ground here and we are working with the National Primary Child Development Agency National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the NCDC.

"Maybe the information they are giving you is not that it has spread to other LGs, but that we want to conduct immunisation in nine other LGs of Kwara State. The NPHDA intends to extend the programme to two wards of Yagba East and Yagba West of Kogi State that are very close to Ifelodun.

"None of such deaths is our information and there is no reported case of any death as regards yellow fever in Kwara State. UITH had been on strike and is just resuming, I do not know where they got it."

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