Bauchi yellow fever death toll rises to 22

The Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency has confirmed six new deaths in the yellow fever outbreak that hit the state.

With this new development, the number of people claimed by the disease has risen to 22.

Recall that cases of yellow fever were recorded in Yankari Game Reserve in Alkaleri and Tafawa Balewa Local Government Areas of Bauchi State which led to the death of three people.

The first case was recorded when four students of the College of Education, Waka-Biu in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State were confirmed dead while 12 were hospitalised after a field trip to the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi.

According to the report, those who lost their lives complained of abdominal pains after which they vomited blood.

The Bauchi State Government on September 5 confirmed the outbreak of the killer disease in the state.

Speaking at a press conference, the Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, said the Ministry of Health had confirmed a yellow fever case which was linked to the Yankari Game Reserve.

Giving an update on the disease while speaking to journalists on Monday, Mohammed said no fewer than 143 suspected cases of the disease were recorded out of which 24 cases were confirmed.

He said that 22 out of the confirmed 24 cases died, adding that all the cases were from Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state.

Mohammed further disclosed that 10 out of the 22 people that died of the disease were rangers working with the Yankari Games Reserve.

According to him, only 79 per cent coverage has been recorded in the ongoing immunization campaign against the vector that carries the disease.

The BSPHCDA chairman, however, lamented that some people were still refusing to take the vaccine.

This, he noted, was the reason for the huge number of deaths.

Mohammed added that besides the 500,000 doses of vaccines provided by the Federal Government, the state had received another batch of 600,000 vaccines.

He explained that the immunisation would now be extended to Kirfi Local Government Area of the state, oil exploration sites, and some villages in nearby Gombe State.

Meanwhile, following the outbreak of yellow fever in the state, about 500 men of the Federal Road Safety Corps have been vaccinated against the killer disease.

The BSPHCDA carried out the vaccination on the FRSC Zonal and Bauchi State Sector Command officials on Monday.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent shortly after he was vaccinated, the Zonal Commander, FRSC, Assistant Corps Marshall, Imoh Etuk, noted that it would go a long way in protecting men of the corps from being infected with the killer disease.

He said, “These vaccines were donated by the Bauchi State Ministry of Health so that our people can be properly immunized against yellow fever. We cannot do this end of year patrol without us being sound and fit, so if there is an outbreak of yellow fever, you can be sure that it will affect our members of staff; and therefore, there will be a traffic upsurge and people will not be able to ensure that they do the needful.

“We are expecting a total of 500 members of staff to be vaccinated, after this, we will also extend it to their families and we are really grateful to the ministry for this.”

Etuk used the opportunity to call on all motorists to obey traffic rules especially during the ember months in order to stay alive.

He added, “Most importantly, they should not travel by night because most of the crashes that happen are during that time of the day. Since people have the fundamental human right to travel anytime, we are advising, we are not enforcing, that they should plan their journeys and avoid travelling at night,” he added.

Also speaking, the BSPHCDA team leader, Maryam Dauda, said the vaccination was necessary because of the huge casualty figure recorded in the state.