No fewer than 15 persons have died following the outbreak of Yellow fever in Iboko community in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The disease also affected an unconfirmed number of people, who were said to be currently receiving treatment at the Virology Centre in Abakaliki, the state capital and Iboko General Hospital in Izzi LGA.
The PUNCH gathered that the outbreak had started since July 15, 2019, before it was reported to the state ministry of health. Thereafter, action was taken to stop its further spread to other parts of the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in the state, Dr. Chris Achi, confirmed the death of the 15 persons to journalists on Friday in Abakaliki.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had been alerted and had already responded to ensure there was no reoccurrence.
Achi regretted the demise of the 16 persons and noted that their deaths were avoidable if the victims had not patronised quacks and used herbs instead of seeking medical treatment.
According to him, a mosquito called Aedes transmits the virus to human beings, adding that it had three to six days incubation period in the human body.
“We have always insisted that people should make use of our health facilities in every 171 wards in Ebonyi State. We have health centres that will serve them.
“Around 15th of July, somebody called me from one of the villages in Izzi Local Government Area that the way people are dying in the village was suspect. I called health workers there who said no such case came to their clinic.
“I sent our rapid response team to visit the place, lo and behold when they got there, it was a case of yellow fever and unfortunately, we have had about 15 deaths from the place. So we moved to the place, conducted case search. Those who already had the symptom, we moved them to the health facility at Ndungele and when it was serious, we moved some to the general hospital at Iboko and virology centre here in Abakaliki.
“But the problem with the outbreak was that our people did not believe that they should go to the hospital when they experience yellowness of the eyes. They believe that they can be treated with local herbs, that’s why we recorded causalities.
“We notified the Federal Ministry of Health and centre for disease control. For the past two weeks, they have been in Ebonyi State to ensure control and they equally came with drugs and (other) consignments.
“We are equally doing much to ensure that it does not spread to the capital city. Yellow fever is not transmitted from human to human. It can only be transmitted through mosquitoes.